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5th Circuit Court of Appeals halts enforcement of Texas immigration law SB4

5th Circuit Court of Appeals halts enforcement of Texas immigration law SB4
Jordan Vonderhaar for The New York Times

In a landmark decision, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an injunction against the enforcement of Texas's stringent immigration law, SB4, which has been a subject of heated legal battles and public debate.

The court's ruling comes as a significant blow to the law, which had been greenlit by the Supreme Court just hours before.

The controversial law, known as SB4, was designed to authorize local and state law enforcement officers to detain migrants they suspect of having crossed the border illegally.

Additionally, it empowered state judges to order the deportation of these individuals to Mexico, irrespective of their country of origin.

The 5th Circuit's decision to freeze the law was split 2-1, Qwith Judges Priscilla Richman and Irma Carillo Ramirez voting to block the law, and Judge Andrew Oldham dissenting.

The ruling came shortly after the Supreme Court, in a move that surprised many, allowed the law to take effect while litigation continued.

The ruling has elicited a range of reactions. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, criticized the Supreme Court's earlier decision to let the law take effect, stating,

"By enabling the Fifth Circuit’s disingenuous procedural jurisprudence, the United States Supreme Court undermines its own credibility."

On the other side, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott welcomed the Supreme Court's decision, which was short-lived due to the 5th Circuit's subsequent ruling.

He had expressed on social media platforms that the decision was "clearly a positive development."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, dissented from the Supreme Court's decision, highlighting the potential chaos the law could introduce.

"This law will disrupt sensitive foreign relations, frustrate the protection of individuals fleeing persecution, hamper active federal enforcement efforts, undermine federal agencies' ability to detect and monitor imminent security threats, and deter noncitizens from reporting abuse or trafficking," Sotomayor wrote.

The 5th Circuit's decision to block SB4 underscores the ongoing and complex debate surrounding immigration policy in the United States.

As the case continues to unfold in the courts, the nation watches closely, understanding that the outcome will have profound implications for the future of immigration enforcement and the balance of power between state and federal authorities.