Texas’ immigration law has been put on hold again while a new panel of appellate judges decides what to do next

(Eric Gay/associated press)

Texas’ immigration law has been put on hold again while a new panel of appellate judges decides what to do next

Immigration and the border

David G Savage

March 20, 2024

Texas immigration law that would give state and local police the authority to arrest people suspected of entering

go inside

the US is on illegal hold again while another panel of the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decides how to proceed.

The back-and-forth decisions, or non-decisions, of the appellate court

has had

confused and confused the Biden administration and the Supreme Court.

It is unclear if or when the Texas law will go into effect.

Last night there was a new panel of the Court of Appeal


a 2-1 vote said it would hold a hearing this morning to decide whether the Texas law should be suspended indefinitely while its constitutionality is decided by a third group of judges.

This came just a few hours after the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to reject the Biden administration’s plea to keep the law on hold.

But Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett M. Kavanaugh explained their vote by saying that the 5th Circuit had yet to rule on the constitutionality of the Texas law, and that they were not prepared to move forward with deciding so an important issue.

The four other justices did not explain their votes, while the court’s three liberals voted to temporarily block the Texas law.

The procedural crisis highlights two different tasks for an appeals court.

On the one hand, judges must hear appeals and rule on disputed areas of law. But separately, the judges must also decide on a temporary basis whether a new and controversial law or regulation can enter into force immediately or instead remain blocked while the appeal is pending.

A rotating panel of three judges will hear the motions seeking temporary relief.

However, these temporary appeals increasingly go directly to the Supreme Court, forcing judges to quickly decide whether or not to take into force a controversial measure.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has defended the new and more aggressive approach to immigration enforcement, emphasizing the need for the state to take action because of what

they call, he calls

lax enforcement by the Biden administration.

But this would require the Supreme Court to reverse course after decades of rulings saying that the federal government, not the state,

to have

has the power to enforce the “entry and removal” of persons at the border.

On February 29, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction preventing the new state law from taking effect because it conflicted with federal law. When the state appealed, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit overturned the judge’s ruling and issued


they described it as a “temporary administrative stay” that lasted a week.

That gave the Biden administration time to ask the Supreme Court to intervene. But there was no clear ruling for them.

The judges have been reluctant to intervene in these fast-moving disputes. Judge Barrett in particular has objected to that process. She said the court should slow down and wait for a final ruling from the appeals court.

But that in turn requires the appeals court panel to decide, and the 5th Circuit has yet to do so.

The Mexican government said Tuesday, after the Supreme Court refused to suspend the law, that it rejected any state or local attempt “to exercise migration control and arrest and return nationals or foreigners to Mexican territory.

“Mexico recognizes the importance of a uniform migration policy and bilateral efforts with the United States to ensure that migration is safe, orderly, respectful of human rights, and not influenced by state or local legislative decisions,” the Mexican ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement. rack. “In this regard, Mexico will not accept repatriations by the State of Texas under any circumstances.”


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