Appeals Court Extends Hold on Texas Border Ruling

( – Texas has suffered another setback in its efforts to protect itself from illegal immigrants and traffickers. Last November, the state legislature passed a law that would make illegally entering the US through Texas an offense under state law. Since then, the Biden administration has been trying to block it — and now it’s forced another delay.

On March 26, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that Senate Bill 4, which has been repeatedly suspended by federal courts, should remain suspended while legal action continues. The controversial bill would allow Texas police and courts to arrest illegal immigrants, charge them with illegally entering the US, and imprison or deport them.

The Biden administration insists that immigration enforcement is a purely federal power. Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) says the federal government isn’t doing its job, and the state needs to take action to protect itself against an “invasion.”

The Fifth Circuit Court, which generally leans conservative, has sided with Biden on this issue. Two of its panel’s judges agreed that “For nearly 150 years, the Supreme Court has held that the power to control immigration… is exclusively a federal power.” The third judge, a Trump appointee (and former Abbott aide), dissented.

This ruling will be a disappointment for Abbott, but not a surprise. The governor says it was always likely the final decision would be made by the Supreme Court. He has some room for optimism there. On March 19, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas could enforce the law — but, hours later, the Fifth Circuit imposed another suspension.

If lower courts keep blocking it, eventually the Supreme Court will have to step in and decide the issue. Abbott will be hoping that, based on its previous intervention, it will let him get on with protecting his state’s borders.

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