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Supreme Court Extends Pause On Texas Migrant Prosecutions

The Supreme Court issued a belated extension to its pause on a Texas immigration law on Monday, preventing the state from prosecuting illegal border crossings as a state crime for now. The order came after the high court missed its 5 p.m. deadline, allowing the law to go into effect briefly. It's unclear when the court will issue a final ruling, leaving Texas and the Biden administration in limbo, Courthouse News Service reports. Senate Bill 4 gives Texas law enforcement authority to capture and deport anyone suspected of entering the U.S. illegally. The controversial law has yet to be enforced because of legal challenges from immigration advocacy groups and the Biden administration.  The government asked asked the Supreme Court to keep the law on ice while the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reviews the case. The Biden administration says that doing so would maintain the 150-year-old status quo of immigration policy between the federal government and states. 

“SB4 … would impose state criminal penalties on noncitizens who unlawfully enter or reenter Texas from Mexico and would require Texas courts to order the removal of those noncitizens to Mexico without Mexico’s consent and without observing the substantive or procedural requirements of federal law governing removal,” U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote. A federal judge declared the law unconstitutional and blocked its enforcement. However, the Fifth Circuit reversed, giving Texas the go-ahead to enforce the law. Texas urged the justices to reject the Biden administration’s emergency application, stating no intervention is necessary because of the Fifth Circuit’s planned hearing on the case. The Lone Star State tried to shift blame to the Biden administration, touting the law as an effort to combat the border crisis. ​​“The state’s injury is even sharper than usual here, moreover, because Texas is the nation’s first-line defense against transnational violence and has been forced to deal with the deadly consequences of the federal government’s inability or unwillingness to protect the border,” wrote Aaron Nielson, Texas’ solicitor general. 


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