Federal Courts Flip-Flop on Controversial New Immigration Law

Federal Courts Flip-Flop on Controversial New Immigration Law

(RepublicanPress.org) – Court watchers monitoring the ongoing legal battle between Texas officials and President Joe Biden’s administration over the state’s new border security law likely suffered whiplash on March 18 and 19. Over two days, the case took a series of twists and turns involving the US Supreme Court and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The measure is now on hold indefinitely.

On March 19, a three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit tossed a previous ruling, putting enforcement of SB 4 on hold indefinitely. The court also scheduled oral arguments the following morning to hear arguments on Texas officials’ request to allow the state to enforce the measure, pending its appeal of a district court’s block on the statute.

The new law would allow the state to deport undocumented immigrants, put them in prison for entering the country illegally, and bypass federal immigration courts.

The panel voted 2-to-1 to halt the legislation. Chief Judge Priscilla Richman, a George W. Bush appointee, and Circuit Judge Irma Ramirez, a Joe Biden nominee, voted to do so. Circuit Judge Andrew Oldman, a Donald Trump appointee, dissented from that decision, writing that he would have left the law in place until after the judges heard oral arguments.

The 5th Circuit’s decision was the last of multiple rulings/orders handed down by the courts over two days. On March 18, Justice Samuel Alito issued an order extending his previous stay, blocking Texas from detaining and ultimately deporting migrants found to have crossed the border without authorization under SB 4.

The following day, the full Supreme Court issued a ruling lifting Alito’s order, effectively allowing Texas to begin enforcing the law.

Republican officials in Texas praised the decision. Gov. Greg Abbott characterized the ruling as a “clearly positive development,” according to Fox News. Likewise, Attorney General Ken Paxton called it a “huge win” for the state and a defeat for the Biden administration and ACLU, who filed the original emergency petition at the Supreme Court.

That decision led to the 5th Circuit’s decision to remove its stay later that evening. The court hasn’t indicated yet how quickly it might rule on the stay. Legal experts say however the court rules, either the Biden administration or Texas officials will file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

For now, enforcement of the immigration law remains on hold.

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