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Appeals Court rules Texas’ immigration law can remain blocked


Daily Caller News Foundation

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday denied a motion by the State of Texas to permit a law that allows state officers to arrest persons who enter the country illegally.

Texas enacted Senate Bill 4 in December to give local law enforcement officers the power to arrest individuals who have entered the country illegally by crossing the United States’ international border with Mexico without inspection. The Fifth Circuit ruled to deny a stay pending appeal in the case, which prevents it from being enforced until the case concludes.

“For nearly 150 years, the Supreme Court has held that the power to control immigration—the entry, admission, and removal of noncitizens—is exclusively a federal power,” Chief Judge Priscilla Richman, an appointee of President George W. Bush, wrote for a divided panel of judges hearing the case. “Despite this fundamental axiom, S. B. 4 creates separate, distinct state criminal offenses and related procedures regarding [the] unauthorized entry of noncitizens into Texas from outside the country and their removal.”

United States v. Texas, No. 24-50149 (5th Cir. March 26, 2024) (Deny of Stay Pending Appeal), ECF No. 163-1… by Daily Caller News Foundation on Scribd

The Fifth Circuit cited the case Arizona v. United States, where the Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that an Arizona law permitting state officials to arrest certain persons unlawfully present in the United States was unconstitutional given the federal government’s powers over immigration.

“[T]he Court’s holding in Arizona provides guiding principles. The Court held: ‘Where Congress occupies an entire field, as it has in the field of alien registration, even complementary state regulation is impermissible,’” Richman wrote. “The Supreme Court in Arizona spent considerable time and ink in explaining how the removal procedures work under federal law. ‘Removal is a civil, not criminal, matter.’ The Texas and federal laws are not congruent on this score.”

Judge Andrew Oldham, an appointee of President Donald Trump, wrote a dissent from the court’s decision.

“The Supreme Court has never extended field preemption to any part of the immigration laws beyond alien registration … [b]ut S.B. 4 does not have anything to do with alien registration. And it is hard to see how every application of every provision of S.B. 4 interferes with some other purportedly ‘exclusive’ aspect of the Federal Government’s power over immigration,” Oldham wrote.

“Illegal crossings are going down in [Texas] while at the same time they are skyrocketing in [California] & [Arizona]. It’s [because] of the border wall, razor wire barriers, the National Guard & arrests by [the Texas Department of Public Safety],” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas wrote on Twitter, now known as X, on Wednesday.

Abbott’s office, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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