Federal Judge Blocks Texas Law That Would Allow Law Enforcement to Arrest Illegal Migrants

By Published on March 1, 2024

A federal judge blocked a Texas law Thursday that allows local police to arrest migrants who cross into the state illegally.

U.S. District Court Judge David Alan Ezra, a Reagan appointee, said in a 114-page ruling that the law, SB 4, “threatens the fundamental notion that the United States must regulate immigration with one voice.” He issued a preliminary injunction preventing the law from taking effect while the case proceeds, finding Texas was “unlikely to succeed on the merits” and noting the government would “suffer grave irreparable harm” if the law took effect.

“If allowed to proceed, SB 4 could open the door to each state passing its own version of immigration laws,” Ezra wrote. “The effect would moot the uniform regulation of immigration throughout the country and force the federal government to navigate a patchwork of inconsistent regulations.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law in December as part of a border security package in response to record numbers of illegal crossings at the border.

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“The Court is sympathetic to Texas’s concerns at the border, but to say that the Biden Administration has ‘abandoned’ the field of immigration is to take hyperbolic criticism literally,” Ezra wrote. “Contrary to Texas’s position, the record is replete with examples and evidence of the federal government carrying out its immigration duties.”

The Biden Department of Justice sued the state in January, claiming the state law was preempted by federal law and violates the Constitution. The ACLU also sued the state the day after Abbott signed the bill into law.

 

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