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Texas migrant arrest law back on hold after brief greenlight

After taking effect for several hours, the controversial law was again blocked by a federal appeals court. The law would allow the police to arrest and detain people crossing the border illegally.

A three-judge panel at the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered late Tuesday the freezing of a Texas migrant law just hours after the US Supreme Court gave it the greenlight.

The law would make it possible for the police to arrest and detain people who cross the border from Mexico to Texas unauthorized. 

Texas authorities did not report any arrests during the short time that the law was in force. 

Mexico said that it would refuse to take anyone back who is ordered to leave the country under state law.

The statement by the Mexcian Foreign Affairs Secretary warned that it “categorically rejects” any state or local government enforcement of immigration control.

Before the appeals court order, the decision by the Supreme Court was seen as an encouragement for other Republican lawmakers who are pushing for similar measures in different states.

Also on Tuesday, the state House in Iowa gave its final approval to a similar bill giving state law enforcement the right to arrest people who are illegally crossing the border and have been previously denied entry into the country. 

How has been the reaction in Texas? 

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, the county’s highest-ranking executive, said that immigration enforcement should remain under federal jurisdiction rather than state control. 

“We had accidents, we had injuries and we got a little glimpse of what would happen if the state began to control what happens with respect to immigration,” Samaniego said.

Associate professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center Daniel Morales warned that the law “will be a mess, very clearly, to enforce.”

He added, “It’s very clear that [Texas Governor] Greg Abbott wants to enforce the law so he can get lots of photo ops and opportunities, but it’s gonna take a lot of state resources to implement.”

Skylor Hearn, the executive director of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, said sheriff’s offices were undergoing training since last year.

Hearn noted that if a county decides to undertake immigration enforcement, the taxpayers will bear the associated costs.

He said that it is important that the federal government fulfills its responsibilities in immigration enforcement, adding: “It is ideal for them to take possession and custody of these people.”

Despite efforts to enforce stricter immigration measures, illegal crossings have shrunk in recent months, with sharp declines in Texas, according to official figures. 

Tucson, Arizona, has become the busiest corridor for illegal crossings in the last months.

Source: dw

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