Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks in Dallas, Texas Reuters

A federal appeals court has granted a stay on a lower court's decision to block the implementation of SB4, a Texas law allowing local law enforcement to detain and deport migrants that cross into its territory illegally.

This means that if the Supreme Court doesn't intervene, the law can go into effect as soon as this week. Governor Greg Abbott celebrated the decision on X, calling the ruling "HUGE NEWS."

The appeals court went against a prior ruling by judge David Ezra, who had halted the law saying that, "if allowed to proceed, SB 4 could open the door to each state passing its own version of immigration laws." Ezra added that the law also "threatens the fundamental notion that the United States should regulate immigration with one voice."

Texas appealed the ruling, and the 5th US Circuit of Appeals granted a stay on Ezra's decision. The court put its ruling on hold for seven days, allowing time for the Biden administration to go to the Supreme Court. Should that not happen, or should the highest court not keep it on hold, SB 4 will be unblocked on March 9.

With SB4, the Texas government intends to provide law enforcement officials with the ability to identify, apprehend, and prosecute people on the mere suspicion that they entered the country without authorization. In addition, it classifies these illegal crossings as a Class B misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to six months in jail.

SB4 has sparked an intense court fight between the Biden administration and Texas, centered on the premise that a state does not have the authority to implement federal laws, especially those pertaining to border entry control.

This month, the Department of Justice claimed that SB4 is unconstitutional as multiple judges and courts have determined that the immigration issue falls solely within the authority of the federal government.

This is not the only immigration-related clash between the Biden and Abbott administrations. They are also at odds on the installing of razor wire fences throughout Texas, and even though the former got a Supreme Court ruling allowing it to cut it down, Texas' National Guard have continued installing more.

At the US-Mexico Border
Members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants from crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juárez. Reuters

"Texas' razor wire is an effective deterrent to the illegal crossings Biden encourages. I will continue to defend Texas' constitutional authority to secure the border and prevent the Biden Admin from destroying our property," said Abbott about the decision. State National Guard troops have also blocked an area of Shelby Park, in Eagle Pass, preventing federal agents from accessing.

Shelby Park is used by Border Patrol agents to inspect and hold migrants and, according to DHS' top lawyer Jonathan Meyer, National Guard forces have been preventing federal operations to apprehend migrants and rescue those who might be in distress. Moreover, DHS argues that state law enforcement officials have already been arresting migrants who cross into the U.S.

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