US Supreme Court Allows Texas to Enforce Law Against Illegal Immigration

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Texas to enforce a law that would allow local law enforcement officials to arrest people suspected of being illegal immigrants.

After the high court temporarily blocked enforcement of the law, the Supreme Court issued a decision to reject an emergency request that was made by the Biden Department of Justice, which argued that states have no right to enforce immigration law and that it violated the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.

The Supreme Court’s order provided no reasons, but Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh filed concurring opinions. Three Democrat-appointed justices, Elena Kagan, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented.

With the ruling, the immigration law can now go into effect while lower courts consider the law, known as SB4. It was passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature last year and signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in late December.

Specifically, SB4 allows local and state police to arrest people who have illegally crossed the U.S.–Mexico border and imposes criminal penalties. State judges are also given the power to order illegal immigrants to be deported under the measure.

In her concurring opinion, Justice Barrett wrote that the high court has “never reviewed the decision of a court of appeals to enter—or not enter—an administrative stay.”

“When entered, an administrative stay is supposed to be a short-lived prelude to the main event: a ruling on the motion for a stay pending appeal. I think it unwise to invite emergency litigation in this Court about whether a court of appeals abused its discretion at this preliminary step,” she wrote.

The three dissenting justices, however, decried the law and said it would upend the federal government’s authority. “The Court gives a green light to a law that will upend the longstanding federal-state balance of power and sow chaos, when the only court to consider the law concluded that it is likely unconstitutional,” Justice Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Jackson.

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote on social media Tuesday that his state notched a “huge win” and that the law “is now in effect.”

Last month, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the law, arguing that it would supersede the federal government’s authority over immigration. The judge also rejected arguments from Texas that the state is currently experiencing an invasion due to the enormous numbers of illegal aliens pouring into the state.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra in February ruled that SB4 violated the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause, which grants the federal government sole authority over immigration matters. The judge also rejected state arguments that Texas was being invaded under the U.S. Constitution’s Article IV.

He wrote at the time that the law would run afoul of federal immigration laws and said that if allowed, Texas would then be able to “permanently supersede federal directives,” which would “amount to nullification of federal law and authority.”

The law presents a “notion that is antithetical to the Constitution and has been unequivocally rejected by federal courts since the Civil War,” Judge Ezra wrote, adding that it “threatens the fundamental notion that the United States must regulate immigration with one voice.”

Days later, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Judge Ezra’s decision and upheld the law before the case was appealed to the Supreme Court. Justice Samuel Alito issued several temporary holds on the law, the most recent of which was on Monday.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, writing on behalf of the Biden administration, wrote in court papers that SB4 is “flatly inconsistent” with Supreme Court precedent and that it should be struck down. “Those decisions recognize that the authority to admit and remove noncitizens is a core responsibility of the national government, and that where Congress has enacted a law addressing those issues, state law is preempted,” she wrote.

When the lawsuit was filed in January, Justice Department officials said that under Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, states can’t adopt laws that would “interfere with the framework” of immigration laws that were passed in Congress. “The Justice Department will continue to fulfill its responsibility to uphold the Constitution and enforce federal law,” they said in a news release at the time.

But according to Mr. Abbott, a Republican, the law was required due to what he described as the Biden administration’s failure to enforce federal laws that penalize illegal entry or re-entry into the United States. The Biden administration has been at odds with the governor on a number of state immigration policies, including Texas setting up razor wire in a high-traffic area near its border with Mexico and barriers set up in the Rio Grande.

Over the past three years, Republicans have been highly critical of the Biden administration’s border policies, saying they’ve led to a surge in illegal immigration into the United States.

The White House has shifted the blame, saying the unprecedented surge in border crossings since the Biden administration took over is due to a “broken” system that can be remedied if Congress passes the appropriate laws. But Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have noted the president has the authority to enforce immigration laws.

Meanwhile, Americans are increasingly concerned about the influx of illegal aliens into the United States. An analysis of exit polls conducted by Edison Research after primary elections this month show that a large number of voters consider illegal immigration their top issue this year.

A poll released in late February found that six in 10 Americans believe illegal immigration is a “very serious” problem and that a majority support the construction of a border wall, a policy that has long been championed by President Trump. While in office, the 45th president constructed around 450 miles of barrier along the U.S.–Mexico border.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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