Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Supreme Court OKs Law Letting Texas Police Arrest Migrants Suspected of Illegally Crossing Border; How Texas’ Plans to Arrest Migrants for Illegal Entry Would Work if Allowed to Take Effect

AP Photo/Eric Gay
Supreme Court OKs law letting Texas police arrest migrants suspected of illegally crossing border
Texas has said it put law in place to compensate for Biden admin's inadequate response at southern border:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Texas to enforce a law that allows local police to arrest migrants suspected of crossing the border illegally – marking a significant but temporary win for the state's efforts to control illegal immigration across the border with Mexico.
The ruling comes a day after the court extended a block on the state law at the request of the Biden administration, which sued to strike down the measure. The Biden administration argued that the law, known as Senate Bill 4 and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in December, would usurp federal authority on matters related to immigration enforcement. It marked the most significant effort by a state to take control of enforcement since the court struck down parts of an Arizona law in 2012.
"The United States brings this action to preserve its exclusive authority under federal law to regulate the entry and removal of noncitizens," the DOJ lawsuit filed in January states. "Texas cannot run its own immigration system. Its efforts, through SB 4, intrude on the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate the entry and removal of noncitizens, frustrate the United States’ immigration operations and proceedings, and interfere with U.S. foreign relations."
Texas said the state’s law mirrored federal law and was put in place to compensate for the Biden administration’s inadequate response at the southern border.
"Texas has defeated the Biden Administration’s and ACLU’s emergency motions at the Supreme Court. 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," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement on Tuesday.
The ruling was not focused on the merits of the case itself but on the stay on the law issued by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had blocked the law in February from taking effect. The court did not explain its reasoning for ending the stay, but in a concurring opinion, Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh expressed concern about the moves by the appeals court – and suggested it could rule differently on the merits itself.
"Before this Court intervenes on the emergency docket, the Fifth Circuit should be the first mover," Barrett wrote. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Eric Gay, file
How Texas’ plans to arrest migrants for illegal entry would work if allowed to take effect:
Texas’ plan to arrest migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally is on hold while the Supreme Court considers a challenge to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest move over immigration.
The nation’s highest court put the law on pause over a lawsuit led by the Justice Department, which argues that Texas is overstepping the federal government’s immigration authority. Under the law, any police officer in Texas could arrest migrants for illegal entry and a judge could order them to leave the U.S.
Justice Samuel Alito has ordered a stay until Monday at 5 p.m. EDT, when the law could potentially take effect.
A federal judge in Texas had blocked the law in a sweeping rejection last month, calling it a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Texas swiftly appealed the ruling and argued that it has a right to take action over what Abbott has described as an “invasion” of migrants on the border.
Here’s what to know:
The law Abbott signed in December allows any Texas law enforcement officer to arrest people suspected of entering the country illegally. Once in custody, migrants could either agree to a Texas judge’s order to leave the U.S. or be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges of illegal entry. Migrants who don’t leave could face arrest again under more serious felony charges.
Arresting officers must have probable cause, which could include witnessing the illegal entry themselves or seeing it on video.
The law cannot be enforced against people lawfully present in the U.S., including those who were granted asylum or who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Critics, including Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, have said the law could lead to racial profiling and family separation. American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in Texas and some neighboring states issued a travel advisory warning of a possible threat to civil and constitutional rights when passing through Texas.
Abbott has rejected concerns over profiling. While signing the bill, he said troopers and National Guard members at the border can see migrants crossing illegally “with their own eyes.”
The law can be enforced in any of Texas’ 254 counties, including those hundreds of miles from the border.
But Republican state Rep. David Spiller, the author of the law, has said he expects the vast majority of arrests will occur within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the U.S.-Mexico border. Texas’ state police chief has expressed similar expectations. --->READ MORE HERE
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