Search on TFTC
Court Blocks Texas Immigration Law, Citing Federal Precedence

Court Blocks Texas Immigration Law, Citing Federal Precedence

Mar 28, 2024

Court Blocks Texas Immigration Law, Citing Federal Precedence

In a recent ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Texas Senate Bill 4 (S.B. 4), a controversial state law aimed at strengthening local immigration enforcement measures. The divided panel's decision, with one judge dissenting, highlights ongoing legal contention surrounding states' rights versus federal authority in immigration matters.

The decision from the majority stated, "The United States has broad powers and rights granted by the Constitution and Congress regarding immigration matters." They challenged the rationale of their dissenting colleague and the state of Texas, questioning, "What logical basis is there for courts to say private parties and government agencies or actors may bring an action sounding in equity but not the United States."

Texas Legislature passed S.B. 4 in November 2023, which includes provisions such as criminalizing the illegal entry and reentry of noncitizens into Texas and granting state judges the power to issue removal orders. The law faced opposition from the United States government, two nonprofit organizations—Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and American Gateways—and the County of El Paso. These plaintiffs argued the law encroached on the exclusive jurisdiction over immigration that belongs to the federal government.

The ruling reaffirmed the district court's preliminary injunction and contested Texas's arguments in defense of S.B. 4. The court stressed that Congress has occupied the field of immigration, leaving no room for independent state immigration laws. Concerns were raised about potential conflicts with federal immigration laws, the undermining of a comprehensive federal approach to immigration, and risks to foreign policy and diplomatic relations.

Judge Andrew S. Oldham, in his dissent, argued that the broad injunction against S.B. 4 was unjustified, stating, "To defend that global injunction, and to take from Texas its sovereign prerogative to enact a law that its people and its leaders want, plaintiffs must show that S.B. 4 is unconstitutional in every one of its potential applications." He suggested waiting for an actual conflict to arise before considering a preemption challenge.

This legal battle echoes past state-level attempts to regulate immigration, reminiscent of an Arizona law that was partially struck down by the Supreme Court over a decade ago. While opponents of S.B. 4 view the law as an overreach and a challenge to federal supremacy, supporters argue it is essential for state security amid what they perceive as federal inaction on illegal immigration.

As the case potentially moves toward the Supreme Court, its outcome may set a significant precedent for the balance of power between state and federal governments in immigration enforcement and lawmaking.

Originally reported by The Epoch Times


Current Block Height

Current Mempool Size

Current Difficulty