Migrants from Venezuela
A migrant family from Venezuela breaks through a razor wire barricade into the United States on the Rio Grande river in Eagle Pass, Texas, on September 25, 2023 AFP

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito extended on Tuesday the suspension of SB4, the Texas law that allows state law enforcement to arrest and potentially deport migrants suspected of crossing the southern border illegally.

Concretely, Alito continued an administrative stay of a lower court that paved the way for the implementation of the law. The measure was set to expire on Wednesday, but Alito extended it through next Monday, March 18.

The highest court in the country intervened last Monday following a request by the Justice Department. Had it not done it, the law would have gone into effect last week, as an appeals court granted a stay on a rejection of the measure by a lower court.

The Department of Justice told the Supreme Court that the law would alter "the status quo that has existed between the United States and the States in the context of immigration for almost 150 years." It also said immigration is an issue that falls solely within the authority of the federal government. And, on a separate note, that the law would have "significant and immediate adverse effects" on the country's relationship with Mexico.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito
Associate Justice Samuel Alito Getty Images | Erin Schaff-Pool

The arguments are similar to those given by David Ezra, the federal judge who initially halted the law. He said that SB4 "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."

However, Texas appealed, and the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals, which granted the stay on the lower court, is set to hear arguments on the merits of the law on April 3.

With SB4, the Texas government intends to provide law enforcement officials with the ability to identify, apprehend, and prosecute people under suspicion of having 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.

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.

"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.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.