Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks SB 4, Texas Law Allowing Arrests of Suspected Undocumented Migrants

EL PASO, Texas – Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) in Texas, which would have allowed state and local law enforcement to arrest suspected undocumented migrants, has been temporarily blocked. A federal judge in Austin issued a preliminary injunction against the law on Thursday, preventing it from going into effect on March 5. U.S. District Judge David Ezra argued that the law threatened the unity of immigration regulation in the United States and would cause irreparable harm if implemented. This ruling is expected to be appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court by Governor Greg Abbott.

Governor Abbott reacted to the ruling stating that it was anticipated and that he agrees with the judge’s belief that this case will ultimately be decided in the Supreme Court of the United States. The state of Texas has already filed a motion to appeal the decision with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Jennifer Babaie, the director of Legal Services for Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, expressed gratitude for the temporary injunction, saying that even a single day where families seeking protection cannot be arrested is a victory. The judge’s ruling came after hearings on SB 4, during which the federal government, advocacy groups, El Paso County, and Las Americas presented their cases against the law. Two separate lawsuits were filed against the law, one by Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and El Paso County, and the other by the Department of Justice arguing that the law is unconstitutional.

Marisa Limon Garza, Executive Director of Las Americas, highlighted the impact of the ruling as motivation to continue educating the community, fighting in the courts, and mobilizing people. She emphasized the importance of this opportunity for community organizing and ensuring that people understand how their voices can be heard. The Court of Appeals will consider lifting the preliminary injunction next week, potentially allowing SB 4 to go into effect.

This ruling is seen as a significant obstacle to the implementation of SB 4 in Texas, as it seeks to address the issue of undocumented migration and the enforcement of immigration laws. The ongoing legal battles over SB 4 reflect the broader debate on immigration policies and the role of state and federal governments in enforcing them. The decision by the federal judge has implications not only for Texas but also for the national conversation on immigration regulation.