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Biden Suffers Blow As Supreme Court Allows Texas To Arrest Illegal Migrants From the Southern Border

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The Biden administration suffered a major setback after the Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, cleared the way for Texas to begin enforcing the SB4 Bill immediately. The bill, a controversial immigration law, has faced stiff criticism and opposition from Democrats and advocates.

A picture of Greg Abbott after Supreme Court victory
Source: Pinterest

Also, the Biden administration condemned the bill, which allows state officials to arrest and detain suspected illegal migrants. Besides the open criticisms, the Biden administration filed lawsuits against Texas Governor Greg Abbott, challenging the bill. 

After months of debate, the Supreme Court’s ruling gave Texas the right to protect itself from the influx of migrants plaguing the southern border. Legal challenges to the law are ongoing at a federal appeals court. However, the decision hands Texas a significant, yet temporary, win, which has been battling Biden over immigration policy.

The court had been blocking the law from taking effect, issuing an indefinite pause on the proceedings a day earlier. However, Tuesday’s order wiped away the indefinite delay. Senate Bill 4, signed into law by Abbott in December 2023, makes entering Texas illegally a state crime.

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ALSO READ: Abbott Tells Musicians Who Pulled Out of SXSW Festival Not to Return to Texas

Also, it allows state judges to order immigrants’ deportation. However, advocates argued immigration enforcement, generally, is a function of the federal government. Hence, the law immediately raised concerns among immigration advocates of increased racial profiling. 

Furthermore, residents condemned detentions and attempted deportations by authorities in Texas, where Latinos represent 40% of the population. Hence, a federal judge in Austin previously blocked the state government from implementing the law. 

However, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary stay of the lower court’s decision. Also, the appeals court said the law would take effect on March 10, 2024, if the Supreme Court didn’t act. Afterward, several emergency appeals from the Biden administration and others followed.

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POLL—Should the U.S. Government Create a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday, Abbott called the court’s order a “positive development.” Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the case would continue in the appeals court. On the other hand, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that “we fundamentally disagree” with the ruling.

“S.B. 4 will not only make communities in Texas less safe, it will also burden law enforcement,” she said. “And sow chaos and confusion at our southern border.” Jean-Pierre added, “S.B. 4 is just another example of Republican officials politicizing the border while blocking real solutions.”

Like most emergency applications, the Supreme Court did not explain its reasoning. However, Justice Amy Coney Barrett said she thought it was “unwise.” Similarly, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson said the order “invites further chaos and crisis in immigration enforcement.”

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ALSO READ: Greg Abbott Takes Credit for Fall in Migrant Entries Into Texas

In her dissent, Sotomayor wrote that the bill “upends the federal-state balance of power that has existed for over a century.” Furthermore, she noted that “the National Government has exclusive authority over entry and removal of noncitizens.”

She also noted that the law would disrupt the country’s foreign relations and frustrate the protection of individuals fleeing persecution. “The law will undermine federal agencies’ ability to detect and monitor imminent security threats,” Sotomayor added. “And deter noncitizens from reporting abuse or trafficking.”

In addition, Justice Elena Kagan noted that “the subject of immigration is the special province of the Federal Government.” While the Supreme Court’s ruling marks a win for Texas, the case is still pending at an appeals court.

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