Texas Immigration Law Back on Hold Already

Federal appeals court blocked law hours after SCOTUS allowed it to take effect
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2024 12:30 AM CDT
Texas Immigration Law Back on Hold Already
Migrants who crossed the Rio Grande and entered the U.S. from Mexico are lined up for processing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Sept. 23, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Hours after the Supreme Court allowed Texas' controversial new immigration law to take effect, it's already back on hold. Some of the high court justices wrote an opinion indicating the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals—which earlier stayed a ruling striking down the Texas law, leading the federal government to appeal to the Supreme Court—could block the law, and that once that court acted, either side could return to the Supreme Court.

  • The latest development, explained: Per NBC News, the federal appeals court appears to be "taking the hint" from SCOTUS (the high court opinion also seemed to suggest that the appeals court should act quickly). As CNN explains, the appeals court "voted 2-1 to wipe away a previous ruling from a different panel that had temporarily put the law, which would allow state officials to arrest and detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally, into effect."

  • What's next: The appeals court will hear arguments in the case Wednesday morning. Texas wants the law, which will allow the state to arrest and deport migrants, to go into effect; the federal government, which has jurisdiction over immigration enforcement, wants to strike the law down. Wednesday's arguments have to do with Texas' request to let the law take effect while the court considers the legal challenges to it. Next month, the appeals court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the law.
  • Previously: Before the appeals court put the law back on hold, the AP reported on the "anticipation and anger" that had followed the Supreme Court decision. Mexico's Foreign Affairs Secretary said Mexico would not accept anyone ordered back in to Mexico under the Texas law, and the BBC reports that top Mexico diplomat Roberto Velasco Álvarez made the same assertion.
  • Timeline: Lawyer Steve Vladeck, who is posting updates about the issue on X, posted this timeline of the law Tuesday night: "Before 4:00 CT yesterday: Not in effect. From 4:00 to 4:04: In effect. From 4:04 yesterday to 1:05 today: Not in effect. From 1:05 today to 9:44 tonight: In effect. Currently: Not in effect."
(More Texas stories.)

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