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After Fleeting SCOTUS Victory, Appeals Court Pauses Texas Border Security Law Again

State enforcement of immigration laws is tantamount to ‘chaos,’ according to the three dissenting liberals on the Supreme Court. 


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit moved quickly Tuesday in temporarily blocking a Texas law giving police officers the authority to arrest suspected illegal aliens crossing into the state after the Supreme Court lifted a previous pause of the law.

Earlier Tuesday, the Supreme Court decision rejected the administration’s emergency request to block the implementation of a law aimed at protecting Texas from an invasion that Biden has, through his open-border policies, refused to stop. The law was set to go into effect pending the outcome of legal challenges, but the appeals court late Tuesday, on a 2-1 decision, issued the temporary order blocking enforcement of the law.

So what had been a win for Texas and national security is on hold again following a whirlwind day showing that the wheels of justice can turn surprisingly quickly on rare occasions.

The Biden administration, in asking the court to block the state law giving Texas control over immigration enforcement, said it was an “unprecedented intrusion into federal immigration enforcement.” Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said Biden’s failure to enforce the federal laws has created the invasion of overwhelming numbers of illegals, forcing Texas to take action. 

Following the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision, Abbott acknowledged the battle wasn’t over. He had no idea how short-lived his state’s victory would be.

“BREAKING: In a 6-3 decision SCOTUS allows Texas to begin enforcing SB4 that allows the arrest of illegal immigrants. We still have to have hearings in the 5th circuit federal court of appeals. But this is clearly a positive development,” the governor wrote on X. 

The appeals court had issued a temporary stay of a district judge’s order halting the state enforcement law. Biden’s Justice Department immediately asked the high court to block the law. 

Texas, however, argues it has the constitutional right to protect itself. 

“One of the most crucial rights granted in the U.S. Constitutional is a state’s ability to secure its own border,” Abbott wrote in a press release regarding the state’s Operation Lone Star. “Texas is leading the fight, with the help of Governors from across the country, to do the job that President Joe Biden has failed to do.” 

The multi-agency Operation Lone Star, as of late February, had led to more than a half-million illegal immigrant apprehensions, nearly 40,000 criminal arrests, and more than 35,800 felony charges, according to the governor’s office. “Texas law enforcement has seized over 467 million lethal doses of fentanyl during this border mission,” the press release states.

Such state enforcement is tantamount to “chaos,” according to the three dissenting liberals on the Supreme Court. 

“Today, the Court invites further chaos and crisis in immigration enforcement,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, in a dissenting opinion. “Texas passed a law that directly regulates the entry and removal of noncitizens and explicitly instructs its state courts to disregard any ongoing federal immigration proceedings. That law upends the federal-state balance of power that has existed for over a century, in which the National Government has had exclusive authority over entry and removal of noncitizens.”

The White House “fundamentally disagree[s]” with the Supreme Court’s decision “allowing Texas’ harmful and unconstitutional law to go into effect,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Tuesday. 

“S.B. 4 will not only make communities in Texas less safe, it will also burden law enforcement, and sow chaos and confusion at our southern border,” Jean-Pierre hypocritically added. 

Chaos and confusion are the hallmarks of the border invasion, created by a president whose immigration law enforcement failures have swamped communities not only at the border, but in sanctuary blue states far from Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.  

Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said the legal battle underscores the fact that the Biden administration doesn’t want to enforce immigration laws and doesn’t want anyone else to either. 

“President Biden had all the legal authority to enforce the laws beginning at noon Jan. 20, 2021,” Mehlman said. “His State of the Union address was a lot of bluster. He kept saying he can’t do anything unless Congress passes a bill that he wants them to pass, and all that bill would do is allow him to keep doing what he has been doing all along.” 

Biden’s blame game isn’t working. Polls show Americans blame him for the border crisis, a failing that could prove to be the president’s Achilles’ heel come November. 

Biden can take comfort, though, in knowing he’s got supporters south of the border. The government of Mexico agrees with the White House. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, taking a page from the American left’s political PR manual, “condemns” the Texas law, “which seeks to stop the flow of migrants by criminalizing them, and encouraging the separation of families, discrimination and racial profiling that violate the human rights of the migrant community.”

“….Mexico categorically rejects any measure that allows state or local authorities to exercise immigration control, and to arrest and return nationals or foreigners to Mexican territory,” the ministry declared in a press release. In other words, it rejects any measure that would force Mexico to have to deal with the illegal immigrants Texas sends back to Mexico.

America’s unfriendly neighbor to the south intends to file a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals “to provide information on the impact that this law will have on the Mexican and/or Mexican-American community, and its effect on the relations between Mexico and the United States.”

The legal challenge goes on. So does the game of “stays.” 

The Supreme Court had previously issued “administrative stays” that stalled the appeals court’s ruling, “keeping the law on hold to give the justices time to consider the Biden administration’s request,” according to the SCOTUS blog

In a concurring opinion Tuesday, Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote that the 5th Circuit had only issued a “temporary administrative stay,” yet to decide whether Texas should receive a stay pending appeal. It’s a “very unusual” action, the justice opined. 

“So far as I know, this Court has never reviewed the decision of a court of appeals to enter — or not enter — an administrative stay,” Barrett wrote, and quickly warned, “I would not get into the business.” 

The 5th Circuit quickly took heed.

The appeals court was scheduled to hear legal challenges against the order on Wednesday, according to Axios. Circuit Judge Andrew Oldham in his dissent said late Tuesday, “I would leave that stay in place pending tomorrow’s oral argument on the question,” the publication reported.

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