Appeals Court Refuses to Put SB 4 Back in Effect

Appeals Court Refuses to Put SB 4 Back in Effect

Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith
March 27, 2024

SB 4 has taken a major hit after a federal appeals court refused to put the controversial immigration law back in effect.

Texas Republicans have repeatedly pushed for Governor Greg Abbott’s (R) bill. However, the recent 2-1 ruling that came at the hands of a conservative appeals court makes it seem extra unlikely that the law will ever go into effect—a major blow for the Texas governor.

“For nearly 150 years, the Supreme Court has held that the power to control immigration—the entry, admission and removal of noncitizens—is exclusively a federal power,” wrote Chief Judge Priscilla Richman.

Richman continued, “Despite this fundamental axiom, SB 4 creates separate, distinct state criminal offenses and related procedures regarding unauthorized entry of noncitizens into Texas from outside the country and their removal.”

SB 4 has been criticized for it harsh and “inhumane” treatment of migrants. The bill allows police officers to search those they deem to be illegally in the U.S. and arrest them. Furthermore, the Supreme Court has spent time addressing the questions about the bill’s constitutionality.

Critics and legal experts have challenged SB 4 for its potential to cause racial profiling. Some have questioned if the bill oversteps state powers, as some argue deportations are to be administered by the federal government.

Regardless of the criticism, Judge Andrew S. Oldham expressed support for the bill by voting for it.

“We’ll likely never know how Texas’s state courts and its state law-enforcement officers would have implemented SB 4,” said Oldham.

Many lawmakers have publicly criticized the bill. Recently, Texas Representative Vicente Gonzalez (D) ripped the governor’s antics.

“This law does nothing to help our immigration system, our local law enforcement personnel, or Texans’ safety and wellbeing,” said Rep. Gonzalez.

“SB 4 will only lead to the racial profiling of Hispanic Texans and leave law enforcement unequipped and untrained to handle immigration cases. We saw this with Operation Lonestar, with the buoys on the Rio Grande River — let’s call it for what it is, another ham-fisted and dangerous stunt by Governor Greg Abbott that will ultimately cause more harm than good,” said the Texas lawmaker.

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Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith is a writer and recent graduate, majoring in English.

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