Judge Blocks Texas Law Allowing Police To Arrest Illegal Immigrants

FILE - Migrants wait to be processed by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol after they crossed the Rio Grande and entered the U.S. from Mexico, Oct. 19, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas. A recent decline in arrests for illegal crossings on the U.S. border with Mexico may prove only temporary. The drop in January reflects how numbers ebb and flow, and the reason usually goes beyond any single factor. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, FILE)

A federal judge has halted Texas from implementing a new law that would classify illegal immigration as a state offense.

U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra, serving the Western District of Texas, issued a preliminary injunction on Thursday, blocking Senate Bill 4 in Texas from taking effect next week. The legislation aimed to empower state authorities to apprehend and detain illegal immigrants, granting state judges authority to mandate deportations.

In his ruling, the judge underscored that states lack the jurisdiction to enforce immigration laws independently, emphasizing that such authority rests solely with the federal government.

Texas retains the option to challenge the ruling through an appeal.

The injunction stems from a legal challenge filed by immigration and civil rights groups against Texas subsequent to Governor Gregg Abbott’s signing of the bill in December.

During the signing ceremony, Abbott articulated the legislation’s objective as stemming the influx of unauthorized entry into Texas.