Appeals court to allow Texas immigration law that criminalizes illegal migrant crossings

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An appeals court on Saturday reversed a lower court’s decision to block Texas from enforcing a new state law that would make illegal immigration a state crime.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals went against U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra’s order to block Texas’ Senate Bill 4 but also put its own ruling on hold for seven days should the Biden administration want to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The new law allows state authorities to arrest and jail illegal immigrants and would give state judges the power to order deportations. 

The law was initially set to go into effect on March 5 but will now be put on hold until March 9 unless the Supreme Court intervenes.

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Under Texas’ Senate Bill 4, state authorities could arrest and jail illegal immigrants and allow state judges to order deportations. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Ezra, who presides in the Western District of Texas, ruled last week that states “may not exercise immigration enforcement power except as authorized by the federal government.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, however, maintained that the state “has the right to defend itself” from the invasion at our southern border.”

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“Texas will immediately appeal this decision, and we will not back down in our fight to protect our state – and our nation – from President Biden’s border crisis,” Abbott said in a statement at the time.

Eagle Pass

Asylum seekers cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States on Sept. 30, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

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The law was one of several moves by Texas to curb the flow of migrants into the state. Abbott has repeatedly accused the Biden administration of failing to enforce immigration laws amid record numbers of migrant entries and encounters at the southern border. 

Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

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