Judge Strikes Down Texas’ New Immigration Law

A federal judge has blocked a new Texas law that would have made illegal immigration a state crime. U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra of the Western District of Texas made the decision on Thursday when he signed off on a preliminary injunction that sought to block Texas’ Senate Bill 4 from going into effect next week on March 5.

The law would have authorized state authorities to arrest illegal immigrants and also give judges the jurisdiction to order deportations. Migrants that do not comply with the judge’s order could be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges of illegal entry. Further lack of compliance could lead to more serious charges.

In his ruling, Ezra stated that states “may not exercise immigration enforcement power except as authorized by the federal government.”

The judge’s ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by Immigration and civil rights groups against the state after Gov. Greg Abbott signed the new law in December.


The groups, which include the American Civil Liberties Union, Department of Justice, argued that the law is unconstitutional, a sentiment Erza agreed with, as he said in his ruling that the law violates the U.S. Constitution and federal immigration law and is detrimental to the country’s “foreign relations and treaty obligations.”

The law was meant to be a way to “stop the tidal wave of illegal entry into Texas,” as the border situation continues to worsen under the Biden administration.

However, opponents have derided it as another way for Texas to crack down on immigrants after a huge part of a 2010 Arizona law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

After the ruling, the groups who sued Texas over the law released a joint statement in reaction to their elated feeling.

“With today’s decision, the court sent a clear message to Texas: S.B. 4 is unconstitutional and criminalizing Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrant communities will not be tolerated,” wrote Jennifer Babaie, director of advocacy and legal services with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.

The Texas chapter of ACLU was particularly pleased with the ruling, as a jubilatory message was posted to its X account.

“VICTORY: A federal court just BLOCKED Texas’ anti-immigrant law #SB4 from taking effect March 5. This is a win for Texas values, human rights, and the Constitution,” the tweet read.

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