US News5th Circuit halts SB4: Texas immigration law faces legal roadblock

5th Circuit halts SB4: Texas immigration law faces legal roadblock

5th Circuit halts SB4: Texas immigration law faces legal roadblock
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10:52 AM EDT, March 20, 2024

Late on Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals made a ruling that once more prevents Texas from implementing its stringent immigration legislation, SB4.

The contentious Texas legislation, currently subject to a prolonged legal dispute, overturns established immigration enforcement practices and has elicited strong opposition from civil society organizations. These groups are concerned that the law could infringe upon the rights of even U.S. citizens.

The Supreme Court declined a request from the Biden administration to step in and maintain a hold on Texas's stringent immigration law while it undergoes challenges in lower courts. However, a late-night ruling by the appeals court removed a stay imposed by a lower court, delaying the law's implementation until the completion of legal proceedings.

What SB4 is all about?

Senate Bill 4, enacted by Texas legislators last year, significantly increases the state's involvement in border security enforcement.

Under this law, unauthorized entry into Texas via the U.S.-Mexico border is classified as a misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to six months in jail. Individuals previously denied admission to the country or deported and then accused of re-entering illegally face felony charges with potential imprisonment of 10 to 20 years.

The legislation grants state judges the power to mandate deportations to Mexico and allows local law enforcement to execute these orders. Moreover, judges can dismiss state charges if a migrant consents to voluntary departure.

According to ABC News, on Wednesday, the appeals court is scheduled to consider arguments to decide whether the law should be kept on hold pending a decision on the legality of SB4.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 'from May 2023 to December 31, DHS removed or returned a record number of individuals—over 472,000—the vast majority of whom crossed the southwest border, including more than 78,800 individual family members'.

Source: The Washington Post, ABC News

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