Texas’ On Again, Off Again Tough Immigration Law Is Off Again—For Now

Border crisis back in limbo?

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Just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Texas’ get-tough immigration law to take effect, a federal appeals court put the measure on hold … again.

In a confusing burst of legal wrangling, the U.S. fifth circuit court of appeals late Tuesday night temporarily slammed the brakes on the new state law. Considered one of the toughest in the nation, S.B. 4 – signed into law by governor Greg Abbott in December – gives local and state law enforcement authorization to arrest illegal immigrants inside the Lone Star State and to deport them.

A federal district court judge had earlier issued an injunction halting it, saying the law trampled on federal authority. The fifth circuit then issued an administrative stay, essentially putting the matter in “time out” as the courts sorted it all out. 



On Tuesday (March 19, 2024), all six of the high court’s conservative justices voted to remove the stay – allowing the law to go into effect. However, the court did not address its constitutionality – preferring to let the matter proceed through the courts. Late Tuesday night, a three-judge panel on the fifth circuit once more put the immigration law on ice until a hearing can be held later this month. 

Besides authorizing law enforcement officers to take into custody those suspected of entering the country illegally, S.B. 4 also allows judges to send those migrants to ports of entry to be returned to Mexico, regardless of where they came from originally. Mexico has already said it won’t cooperate with that effort.

The administration of Joe Biden had argued it alone had the sole responsibility to deport immigrants, legal or otherwise. Abbott and Texas lawmakers countered that Biden has essentially been derelict in duty with his highly relaxed enforcement of immigration laws. BIden’s policies have allow a tidal wave of illegal aliens — as many as 10 million, according to some estimates — to flood into the country since he took office in 2021.


Governor Abbot visits border during amidst immigration crisis.



Dissenting justice Sonia Sotomayor noted that the court was giving a “green light to a law that will upend the longstanding federal-state balance of power and sow chaos.”

All this legal maneuvering comes at a time when public interest in immigration is very high. Exiting polling during this year’s presidential primary elections showed voters, including those in South Carolina, considered it one of their top concerns. Emotions were exacerbated late last month when nursing student Laken Riley was murdered while running on the University of Georgia campus, allegedly by an illegal immigrant from Venezuela.

As for Abbott, he made it clear Texas will continue to enforce the law.

“Hundreds on the terror watch list have entered our country illegally under President Biden,” he said. “This will not stand. We must hold the Biden Administration accountable for their reckless open border policies that are endangering the safety of Americans.”



Mark Powell (Provided)

J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at mark@fitsnews.com.



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1 comment

One Million Dollars March 22, 2024 at 8:18 am

I feel like Texas may as well take a page from Austin Powers and put laser beams on sharks as a way of dealing with undocumented immigrants. If they are going to be cartoonishly evil trying to kill impoverished people looking for a better life they may as well go all the way.

Oh, sorry, I failed to remember conservatives don’t view undocumented immigrants as people:

“I don’t know if you call them people,” he said at a rally near Dayton, Ohio. “In some cases they’re not people, in my opinion. But I’m not allowed to say that because the radical left says that’s a terrible thing to say.”


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