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News > U.S.

US Appeals Court Refuses to Reinstate Texas Anti-Migrants Law

  • Migrants detained at the U.S. border, 2024.

    Migrants detained at the U.S. border, 2024. | Photo: X/ @NormaMe37333692

Published 27 March 2024

If SB-4 takes effect, local police would be authorized to detain, jail, and prosecute migrants suspected of illegally entering the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected Texas' request to allow the SB-4 immigration law to take effect while it undergoes examination in that court.


Mexico to Support Migrants Targeted by Texas SB-4 Law

"The ruling is a significant victory for immigrant rights and will prevent the law from being enforced until the Court decides if it is unconstitutional," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said regarding a law allowing Texas to arrest and deport migrants at the border.

On April 3, the Louisiana-based court will hear arguments about the federal government's exclusivity in immigration matters before being able to confirm whether it upholds the ruling issued by a lower court blocking the implementation of SB-4.

On March 20, a panel of three judges from the Appeals Court held a hearing on this case, which pits the federal government against Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

The U.S. Department of Justice has argued that SB-4 violates federal authority and will create chaos at the border, while Abbott criticizes President Joe Biden for having an "open" border.

"For nearly 150 years, the Supreme Court has held that the power to control immigration is exclusively a federal power," said Judge Priscilla Richman.

The decision comes after days of legal turmoil, during which the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the law to take effect for a few hours before the Fifth Circuit ruled to temporarily block it.

If SB-4 takes effect, state, county, and local police would be authorized to detain, jail, and prosecute migrants suspected of illegally entering the United States.

The measure makes it a misdemeanor for a foreigner to "enter or attempt to enter the state from a foreign nation" irregularly, carrying a penalty of up to six months in jail.

If the offender is a repeat offender, the offense becomes a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. SB-4 would also allow state judges to order migrants to return to Mexico.

Critics of the law have long warned that its implementation would lead to racial discrimination, separate families, and harm African American and Latino communities across the state.

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