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Federal Appeals Court Keeps Hold On Texas’ SB4

A federal appeals court has ruled to put on hold the controversial Texas law that would allow state officials to arrest migrants.

A panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals split 2-1 late Tuesday, saying the state law seizes powers that are “likely reserved to the United States.” Still, the appeals court is set to hear arguments in the case on April 3.

Chief Judge Priscilla Richman –appointed by former President George W. Bush– and Judge Irma Ramirez –nominated by President Joe Biden– joined in the ruling against Texas’ law, while Judge Andrew Oldham –appointed by former President Donald Trump– dissented.

“The State is forever helpless: Texas can do nothing because Congress apparently did everything, yet federal non-enforcement means Congress’s everything is nothing,” Oldham wrote in his dissent. “And second, while the dispute before us is entirely hypothetical, the consequences of today’s decision will be very real.”

Oldham acknowledged, however, that the law  “likely will never go into effect” because the panel may uphold its ruling that only the federal government has the authority to enforce immigration laws.

The law was supposed to take effect on March 5, but has been held up by various court orders since then.

The Supreme Court put the law on hold for two weeks while the justices considered an emergency request from the Biden administration. The court later allowed Texas to enforce the law pending a more formal ruling from the appeals court.

The law went into effect about nine hours before the 5th Circuit blocked it again.

The law, known as SB4, allows state and local police officers to arrest people they believe are in the country illegally and also allows judges to deport them to Mexico without the country’s consent.

This is a major victory for the Biden administration in its legal battle with Texas over border policy. The state has two other major court battles with the federal government over the use of razor wire and the floating border along the Rio Grande. In May, the full 5th Circuit will rehear the case involving the river border buoys.

Written by RA News staff.


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