Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks New Texas Law Making Illegal Immigration a State Crime

Published March 5, 2024

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a Texas law that makes illegal entry a state crime, giving local law enforcement the ability to arrest illegal border crossers.

Justice Samuel Alito signed an order blocking Texas from enacting the law until March 13, halting a lower court’s ruling that SB 4 could take effect. The court also ordered the state to respond by March 11 to a Justice Department request for a pause.


The Republican governor signed the bill into law last December, arguing the Biden administration’s “deliberate inaction” forced the state to act.



RELATED: SCOTUS temporarily blocks Texas immigration law, reversing 5th Circuit ruling

The nation’s highest court stopped the new state law from going into effect until at least next Wednesday, while it considers permanently blocking Senate Bill 4.

National Guard members tell migrants that they cannot cross the concertina wire barrier and must to walk to another area to surrender to authorities in Eagle Pass on July 29, 2023. Credit: Verónica Gabriela Cárdenas for The Texas Tribune
Published March 4, 2024


RELATED: Biden administration asks Supreme Court to block Texas from arresting migrants under SB4 law

Published March 4, 2024

Eagle Pass, Texas — The Biden administration on Monday asked the Supreme Court to block Texas from enforcing an immigration law known as SB4 that would allow state law enforcement officials to arrest migrants suspected of crossing into the U.S. without authorization.

One of the most far-reaching state immigration laws in modern U.S. history, SB4 would empower Texas law enforcement officials to stop, jail and prosecute migrants on state criminal charges of illegal entry or reentry. It would also allow state judges to issue de facto deportation orders against suspected violators of the law.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra granted a request from the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union and temporarily blocked Texas state officials from enforcing SB4, which was set to take effect on Tuesday. He ruled that immigration arrests and deportations are federal responsibilities and rejected Texas’ argument that the state is facing an “invasion” by migrants.

But at Texas’ request, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals over the weekend suspended Ezra’s order on administrative grounds while it hears the merits of an appeal. On Monday, after the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to intervene, Justice Samuel Alito paused the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ order through Wednesday, March 13, and gave Texas until the end of the business day next Monday to plead its case. If the Supreme Court sides with Texas, SB4 could take effect on March 13 at 5 p.m. ET.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who signed SB4 in December, has argued the law is needed to reduce migrant crossings, accusing the Biden administration of not doing enough to deter illegal immigration. Texas state troopers have already been arresting some migrants on trespassing charges, but SB4 would allow them to make arrests without the collaboration of property owners.

The Biden administration, on the other hand, has said SB4 interferes with federal immigration enforcement, ignores U.S. asylum law and jeopardizes foreign relations with the Mexican government, which has denounced the state law as an “anti-immigrant” measure.





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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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