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A Texas law aimed at criminalizing illegal entry was struck down by a federal judge, marking a significant legal rebuff to state attempts to assume control over immigration enforcement.

Judge David Ezra’s ruling halted Senate Bill 4 from becoming effective, citing constitutional conflicts. He stated, “Several factors warrant an injunction. First, the Supremacy Clause and Supreme Court precedent affirm that states may not exercise immigration enforcement power except as authorized by the federal government.” Ezra also pointed out that the law “conflicts with key provisions of federal immigration law, to the detriment of the United States’ foreign relations and treaty obligations.”

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The judge further noted that the concept of an “invasion” does not apply to immigration surges, contradicting Texas officials’ characterizations. “Surges in immigration do not constitute an ‘invasion’ within the meaning of the Constitution, nor is Texas engaging in war by enforcing SB 4,” Ezra explained.

This decision is a setback for proponents of the law, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his allies, who have argued that the federal government’s failure to secure the border has left the state with no choice but to act.

Amidst the legal battle, Department of Justice lawyers said, “Congress has clearly occupied the field with respect to the entry and removal of noncitizens, displacing the ability of the 50 States to regulate in this area.” This view was echoed by Anand Balakrishnan of the American Civil Liberties Union, who stated, “The Constitution passes authority over immigration in the end to the federal government, and states can’t legislate in that area in a way that conflicts with federal law.”

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The law’s proponents, however, defended their stance by arguing that Texas is facing a unique crisis. “There is a full-scale invasion of transnational criminal cartels across our southern border—and Texas is ground zero,” state attorneys argued, seeking to justify the need for SB 4. Despite these claims, Judge Ezra expressed skepticism, noting, “I haven’t seen, and the state of Texas can’t point me to any type of military invasion in Texas. I don’t see evidence that Texas is at war.”

This all comes as tension continues to grow between state and federal authorities over immigration policy, with Texas officials arguing for a more aggressive stance against what they describe as an unchecked flow of migrants and associated crimes.


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