Mess in Texas: How Biden’s fight with border state twisted and turned over a wild 24 hours – Washington Examiner

Texas‘s controversial law allowing state police to arrest illegal immigrants on state charges for entering the country illegally saw a wild 24 hours in which its status changed several times.

The legislation, Senate Bill 4, was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) in December 2023 and would empower local law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants on immigration violations, which is a federal crime, and a judge in Texas could rule to deport a violator. The law was placed on a temporary hold on March 4 and remained on hold entering this week.

Monday Supreme Court order

The Supreme Court issued an order on Monday afternoon extending the stay on the Texas law, with Justice Samuel Alito giving little explanation as to the court’s thinking on the matter.

“Upon further consideration of the application of counsel for the applicants, the response, and the reply filed thereto, it is ordered that the stay issued on March 4, 2024, is hereby extended pending further order of the undersigned or of the Court,” Alito wrote in the Monday order.

The law appeared not to have its status changed as the court battle over the law continues in federal courts.

Tuesday Supreme Court order

On Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the order extending the stay, the Supreme Court lifted the stay in a 6-3 decision. With the stay being lifted, Texas was allowed to implement the immigration law despite the court battle and objections by President Joe Biden’s administration.

Alito led the order but did not offer an explanation, but a concurrence from Justice Amy Coney Barrett, which Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined, explained that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit’s decision had put “this case in a very unusual procedural posture.” She added that if the appeals court does not act soon, “the applicants may return to this court.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the decision, arguing the order would “upend the longstanding federal-state balance of power and sow chaos.”

Abbott called the decision “clearly a positive development” but warned that “we still have to have hearings in the 5th circuit federal court of appeals” in a post on X on Tuesday.

Appeals court hold

Late Tuesday, only hours after the Supreme Court gave the order removing the hold, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit announced it would be weighing the lawsuit on the law on Wednesday morning and placed a new hold on the law in the interim.


“Oral argument is scheduled on March 20, 2024, to consider the Appellants’ Motion to Stay Preliminary Injunction Pending Appeal,” the panel’s decision said. “A majority of the panel has concluded that the administrative stay entered by a motions panel on March 2, 2024, should be lifted.”

The law will now likely remain on hold until the appeals court panel reaches a decision on the matter, but after the Supreme Court’s warning in its order, it appears the appellate court may move quicker than originally anticipated.