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The fate of Senate Bill 4 continues to remain unknown

The 5th Circuit will hold another hearing on April 13, seeking to hear any more arguments regarding Senate Bill 4. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Editor’s Note: More updates on Senate Bill 4 will be provided in this article as more updates happen.

Update: March 20, 2024

Late Tuesday night, hours after The U.S Supreme Court allowed for Texas to enforce Senate Bill 4, an appeals court requested to put a hold on the law. On Mar. 20, 2024, an early morning hearing was held, in which the U.S. Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued why the law is unconstitutional with Texas solicitor generals. Currently, SB4 is back on hold.

Update: March 19, 2024 

As of Mar. 19, 2024, The U.S Supreme Court’s decision allowed Texas to enforce Senate Bill 4, which means the law will allow state officials to arrest and detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally. However, the 5th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals and the federal court in Austin will continue to deem whether the law is unconstitutional. 

March 18, 2024 

Over the past few months, a bill began to polarize the state of Texas and the country into a heavy debate legality or unconstitutionality. The Senate Bill 4, would allow state law enforcement to arrest people suspected of illegally crossing the border and was put on an extended pause by the U.S. Supreme Court March 12, elevating this heavy debate. 

The strict state immigration law is now on temporary pause until March 18, as it will give the court additional time to review the case. This extensive block came after Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alto overturning a decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that would have enforced the bill March 9, due to a previous hold, that was about to expire according to the Associated Press.  

Justice Alto ruling is not the only one, as in late February U.S District Court Judge David Ezra also did not allow Texas to enforce this law, but his decision was overturned by the 5th Circuit by Texas request.  

However, Texas officials like Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton were not pleased with this decision according to ABC News 

“We will not back down in our fight to protect our state and nation from President Biden’s border crisis,” Abbott said in a statement. “Texas has the right to protect itself because of President Biden’s ongoing failure to fulfill his duty to protect our state from the invasion in our southern border.” 

SB4 was initially signed in December 2023 by Gov. Abbott making it one of Texas latest attempt to deter people from crossing the Rio Grande. The bill also requires state judges to order migrants to return to Mexico if they are convicted as an alternative option to prosecution.

While many Texas officials across the state continue to argue back and forth on whether this law will help the state with its border crisis, many officials in El Paso had different reactions to this decision.

In a city situated near the border and an immigration detention, local leaders and migrant advocates had an array of emotions in response to the Supreme Court decision.

“We want our residents to know that we are going to be fighting, we are going to continue fighting for the residents of El Paso until the end, because we know that this law is unconstitutional,” said El Paso County commissioner Iliana Holguin in a statement from KTSM.

Many immigration advocacy groups in the country like Las Americas and El Paso County filed separate lawsuits in contest to the law signed last year.

“We are using this as fuel, fuel to continue to make sure our community is educated and fuel to continue to fight in the courts,” said executive director of Las Americas Marisa Limon Garza. “Ultimately this is an opportunity for community organizing and for people to understand how their voice can be heard.”

With the battle over this immigration enforcement law continuing to amplify in the country, the 5th Circuit will have another hearing to hear more arguments regarding SB4 April 13, prolonging the fate of SB4. 

Erik Acosta is the editor-in-chief and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Erik Acosta, Editor-in-Chief
Erik Acosta is the editor-in-chief for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in theatre. He plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism and print with hopes of working at LA times, Washington Post and ABC News.
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