Supreme Court Has Overturned Its Block On Texas Border Law

After the state of Texas sought authority to arrest illegal immigrants entering the country through the southern border, the U.S. Supreme Court extended its block on legislation that would allow the Lone Star State to assist law enforcement in arresting suspected illegal aliens — but that ruling has now been overturned.

On Monday March 18, the court released a brief order that extended the hold on the controversial Senate Bill 4, which has been widely criticized by the Department of Justice for undermining federal authority to monitor migration at the border. The order was signed by Justice Samuel Alito.

Alito’s order said that the controversial legislation was blocked “pending further order” from the Supreme Court. Initially, the law was set to take effect on March 10. However, the conservative justice overruled a lower court ruling allowing the bill to be enacted three times, keeping the legislation stalled in the nation’s highest court.

The most recent order from Alito had an expiration date of March 18 at 5pm. Monday’s new order came in minutes after that deadline, sparking some confusion as to whether the law automatically took effect. The updated order blocked the law indefinitely and left the nine justices additional time to consider how to proceed.

However, on Tuesday afternoon, the Supreme Court issued a decision in favor of Texas, ruling seven to nine that the state could continue to arrest and deport illegal aliens.

“The Supreme Court just did a 180 and ruled that Texas is allowed to enforce SB 4, allowing state police to arrest and deport illegal aliens. 7 of the 9 Justices sided with Texas over the Biden admin,” a post about the ruling from Greg Price read. “Sotomayor and Jackson dissented and said it will ‘sow chaos.’”

The legal battle between Texas and the federal government has become the pinnacle of controversy leading up to the Nov. 2024 presidential election, during which voters have already indicated that immigration is a key issue. With a likely rematch between President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump, the border debate continues with Democratic support for “open border” policies and Republican support for instilling greater security at the border.

The Texas bill was backed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) and his colleague Ken Paxton (R-TX), the state’s attorney general. Both have advocated for stronger legal permits to allow law enforcement to arrest and criminally charge illegal immigrants in response to the migration crisis and the negative impact it is having on residents of the Lone Star State.

The proposed legislation was signed by Abbott in March 2024, an act which was quickly followed by lawsuits that kept it from being enforced.