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Supreme Court, Texas, Illegal Immigrants

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By: Caroline Downey – nationalreview.com

The Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted its freeze of a Texas immigration law which allows state and local law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants and empowers state judges to deport them.

The Court’s six conservative justices dismissed the Biden administration’s emergency appeal, allowing the law to remain in effect while the issue is adjudicated by lower courts. The majority did not explain its reasoning, as is typical, but Justice Amy Coney Barrett, joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, issued a concurring opinion explaining that Texas should be allowed to enforce its law until a lower court definitively strikes it down.

“If a decision does not issue soon,” Barrett wrote, “the applicants may return to this court.”

On X Tuesday, Texas Governor Abbott acknowledged that litigation over the law will continue in lower courts.

“BREAKING: In a 6-3 decision SCOTUS allows Texas to begin enforcing SB4 that allows the arrest of illegal immigrants,” he wrote. “We still have to have hearings in the 5th circuit federal court of appeals. But this is clearly a positive development.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the ruling on X.

“HUGE WIN: Texas has defeated the Biden Administration’s and ACLU’s emergency motions at the Supreme Court,” he said. “Our immigration law, SB 4, is now in effect. As always, it’s my honor to defend Texas and its sovereignty, and to lead us to victory in court.”

In court papers, Paxton said the Texas law does not undermine federal law but complements it regarding immigration enforcement, which the federal government is supposed to be fulfilling. The Biden administration for many months has been flouting federal immigration law by paroling illegal immigrants into the U.S. instead of detaining them.

The Constitution “recognizes that Texas has the sovereign right to defend itself from violent transnational cartels that flood the state with fentanyl, weapons, and all manner of brutality,” Paxton said in filings, according to NBC News.

Texas is “the nation’s first-line defense against transnational violence and has been forced to deal with the deadly consequences of the federal government’s inability or unwillingness to protect the border,” he added.

The Court’s three liberals — Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — issued a blistering dissent to the Tuesday decision.

“Today, the court invites further chaos and crisis in immigration enforcement,” Sotomayor wrote. “Texas passed a law that directly regulates the entry and removal of noncitizens and explicitly instructs its state courts to disregard any ongoing federal immigration proceedings. That law upends the federal-state balance of power that has existed for over a century, in which the national government has had exclusive authority over entry and removal of noncitizens.”

The decision comes after Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued an administrative stay on the law followed by two extensions of the pause, the most recent coming down on Monday.

The law’s defenders and Texas officials have resisted the Department of Justice’s claims that the law usurps federal power, arguing that the recent record surge in illegal immigration constitutes an “invasion” which the state is empowered to repel under the State War Clause of the Constitution. After the DOJ sued Texas over the law in January, an Abbott spokesperson said that the governor anticipated taking the legal dispute all the way to the Supreme Court.

Heading into 2024, 371,000 illegal aliens were “encountered” by border agents in December 2023, hitting a new record and marking a 23.5 percent increase over the levels from November.

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Source: Supreme Court Allows Texas to Enforce Law Authorizing Local, State Police to Arrest Illegal Immigrants | National Review