SCOTUS Rejects Biden Admin’s Emergency Appeal, Says Texas Can Enforce Immigration Law
EAGLE PASS, TEXAS - MARCH 12: National Guard soldiers patrol at the entrance to Shelby Park on March 12, 2024 in Eagle Pass, Texas. U.S. President Joe Biden's budget proposal includes a $4.7 billion emergency fund to enhance border operations in preparation for potential illegal migrant surges along the Southern border.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas can enforce a law allowing state authorities to arrest immigrants suspected of crossing the border illegally, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, another development in the complicated battle between the Republican-led state and the Biden administration.

The high court voted 6-3 to reject the Biden administration’s emergency request for a stay on the Texas law while litigation continues in lower courts, NBC News reported. All six conservative justices voted to reject the administration’s request, while the three liberal justices dissented.

The Supreme Court ruling comes just a day after the court extended an administrative stay on Texas’ immigration law while considering the Biden administration’s emergency appeal. The majority did not provide the reasoning behind its decision, as is the case with most emergency applications, CNN reported.

Senate Bill 4, signed into law by Republican Governor Greg Abbott in December, has gone through a rollercoaster court battle in recent weeks. SB 4 was initially blocked by a federal judge before a federal appeals court reversed the judge’s decision and allowed the law to go into effect. However, the Supreme Court stepped in earlier this month — first extending a stay on the law’s implementation before ruling Tuesday that the law can go into effect.

SB 4 allows state officials to arrest and jail immigrants suspected of entering the U.S. unlawfully and also grants state judges the power to order deportations. The law drew harsh criticism from the Biden administration, which cited the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, arguing that the Texas law interferes with federal immigration law.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor agreed with the Biden administration and warned of the consequences she believes will come from allowing the law to be enforced.

“The court gives a green light to a law that will upend the longstanding federal-state balance of power and sow chaos,” she wrote.

Proponents of SB 4, such as Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, argue that the state has a constitutional right and duty to protect itself from what they view as an invasion at the U.S. southern border.


“[The] Constitution recognizes that Texas has the sovereign right to defend itself from violent transnational cartels that flood the State with fentanyl, weapons, and all manner of brutality,” Paxton said.

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