The Supreme Court was under pressure to take action
The Supreme Court Reuters

The Supreme Court temporarily halted the implementation of SB4, the Texas law that would allow local law enforcement to arrest and deport migrants who cross illegally into the state.

The decision came shortly after the Justice Department asked the highest court to intervene. 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 Supreme Court also requested a response by the state.

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.

David Ezra, the federal judge who had halted the law, 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."

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, which effectively happened.

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

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.

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.

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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