Supreme Court Allows Texas Police To Make Arrests During Illegal Border Crossings

The Supreme Court has given approval to a contentious immigration law in Texas, enabling local law enforcement officials to apprehend individuals who illegally cross the US-Mexico border.

The court swiftly rejected the emergency request from the Biden administration, issuing a 6-3 decision just one day after the law, SB4, was ordered to remain paused.

The law can now take effect even as it faces ongoing legal challenges. Although it is currently permitted, there is a possibility that it may be blocked in the future.

The conservative majority of the court did not provide a justification for denying the stay. In a concurring opinion, Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh pointed out that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had not yet made a decision.

Justice Barrett expressed concern that if a decision is not made promptly, the applicants may have to come back to the court.


Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the liberal justices, expressed her dissent from the decision, arguing that it would only lead to more chaos and crisis in immigration enforcement.

Under SB4, individuals who illegally cross the US-Mexico border can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail. Law enforcement is granted the authority to enforce these charges. In the case of repeat offenders, second-degree felony charges can be imposed, carrying a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The temporary decision is a victory for Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has been advocating for assertive legislation to prevent migrants from crossing the border and establish penalties for such actions.

In December, Mr. Abbott signed the bill which was scheduled to take effect earlier this month. However, the Justice Department and immigration advocacy groups requested federal courts to intervene and temporarily halt the implementation of the law. Despite this, the Fifth Circuit allowed the law to proceed while the litigation is ongoing.

The Biden administration recently requested the Supreme Court to halt the enforcement of the law, a request that was granted earlier this month and again last week.

However, the conservative majority decided to postpone issuing a formal ruling or opinion on the emergency order until the Fifth Circuit had done so.

Justice Sotomayor voiced her disagreement with the conservative justices’ choice to defer intervention until the Fifth Circuit renders a decision.

Justice Sotomayor wrote that while the Court does not express an opinion on the constitutionality of Texas’s law and defers to the lower court’s handling of its docket, she believes that the Court of Appeals overstepped its bounds by issuing an arbitrary and indefinite administrative stay that changed the existing state of affairs.

Texas argued that it had the authority to defend itself under Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution, which grants states the right to engage in self-defense if they are “actually invaded.”

According to the Justice Department, the bill is in conflict with federal law, which is usually the government entity responsible for immigration enforcement.

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