US Supreme Court halts controversial migration law in Texas

Migrants are seen on the American side of the Rio Grande in front of razor wire fence. David Peinado/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa © DPA International

AUS appeals court has put the controversial Texas immigration law back on hold – a few hours after the US Supreme Court had ruled in favour of the law, according to media reports.

The hotly-debated law is intended to grant Texas authorities far-reaching powers, which are otherwise reserved for federal authorities, on the border with Mexico.

It would allow Texas police officers to arrest people suspected of having illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the US.

Texan courts are also authorized to order deportations and impose long-term prison sentences for repeated border crossings. These powers are normally reserved for US federal authorities.

The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed the law in December. After a lengthy legal tug-of-war, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) finally argued before the Supreme Court that Texas was overstepping its authority with the project and successfully obtained a delay.

With Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision, the law came into force while ongoing lawsuits by the DoJ and several human rights and civil rights organizations make their way through the courts. However, the appeals court stopped it again hours later.

On Wednesday morning, the court will hear a motion from Texas to allow the law to come back into force for the time being, US media reported.

Human and civil rights activists have warned of the danger of discrimination and racial profiling when people are checked by the police.

Neighbouring Mexico has categorically rejected any measure that would grant federal or municipal US authorities powers in migration matters.

“Mexico will not accept deportations by the state of Texas under any circumstances,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The issue of migration is playing a particularly important role in the US presidential election campaign, with Republicans accusing US President Joe Biden of having lost control of his country’s southern border.

Republican presidential challenger Donald Trump repeatedly uses extreme formulations and speaks of an “invasion” of the US by illegal migrants.

Thousands of people fleeing poverty and conflict in their home countries arrive in the US every day.

Authorities are under pressure and the judicial system can barely keep up with the processing of asylum applications.

Source: DPA International