The Supreme Court authorized Texas to implement its state deportation law, SB4, but an appeals court suspended that decision mere hours later.
Reported by Amy Howe and Camilo Montoya-Galvez, SB4 was enacted last year by the Texas Legislature. The law criminalizes unauthorized immigration at the state level, designating the act of entering the U.S. without using a port of entry—a violation already under federal law—as a state offense. Additionally, it establishes a state felony for reentering the country illegally.
SB4 authorizes Texas law enforcement, at both the state and local levels, to detain and prosecute migrants based on these new criminal charges. The law also allows state judges to mandate that migrants return to Mexico as an alternative to facing prosecution.
In February, Judge David Ezra found SB4 to be in violation of federal law, stating that immigration enforcement is the responsibility of the federal government, not the states.
Judge Ezra’s order to halt SB4 will remain in effect until the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decides on Texas’ petition to enforce the law while its legality is under review. A virtual hearing on this issue is scheduled for this week.