Supreme Court temporarily blocks Texas law that allows police to arrest migrants

TOP Border 112723 AP Matt York

The Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked a Texas law that allowed state law enforcement officers to arrest migrants entering the United States from Mexico.

In an order signed by Justice Samuel Alito, the high court blocked Texas from enacting the law until March 13, giving the state until March 11 to respond to the Justice Department’s request asking to pause the law from taking place.

The Justice Department had filed an emergency request on Monday asking the Supreme Court to intervene, with Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar arguing that the law would alter the “status quo that has existed between the United States and the States in the context of immigration for almost 150 years.”

Prelogar was responding to an order from the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit over the weekend that paused a ruling from a federal district judge that barred the law from taking effect last week.

“The preliminary injunction entered by the district court simply maintains the longstanding status quo while this litigation proceeds; the court of appeals’ stay, on the other hand, would result in direct and irreparable harms to core federal interests,” she wrote.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed the legislation into law last December, giving any Texas law enforcement officer the power to arrest those who are suspected of entering the country illegally. After being arrested, the migrants would either agree to a judge’s order making them leave the U.S. or be charged on misdemeanor charges of illegal entry under the new law.

This law set up a contentious battle over immigration with the Biden administration. The Justice Department sued Texas over the law in January, arguing that it is unconstitutional under the Constitution’s Supremacy clause.

Federal Judge David Ezra barred the law from taking place in an order issued last week. Texas had immediately appealed the decision to the federal appeals court and the state attorney general’s office on Monday applauded the Fifth Circuit’s order.

“The emergency stay granted by the Fifth Circuit has itself been stayed for seven days to allow the federal government to seek review by the Supreme Court of the United States. Further, the Fifth Circuit ordered that this appeal be expedited and argued immediately,” the state attorney general office wrote.

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