Media Contact

Kristi Gross, ACLU of Texas, [email protected]
Gabby Arias, ACLU National, [email protected]
Ivonne Rodriguez, Las Americas IAC, [email protected]
Erika Gonzalez, American Gateways, [email protected]
Savannah Tarbet, Texas Civil Rights Project, [email protected]
Elhiu Dominguez, El Paso County Attorney’s Office, [email protected]

March 19, 2024

AUSTIN — The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled to leave in place an appeals court administrative stay on a preliminary injunction blocking Texas Senate Bill 4 (88-4), an extreme anti-immigrant law. The court has not ruled on whether the law is constitutional, but will permit Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal's administrative stay to remain in effect while the lawsuit unfolds. The ruling will allow the law to go into effect immediately. 

Know Your Rights under S.B. 4:

The legislation is one of the most extreme anti-immigrant laws ever passed by any state legislature in the country and permits local and state law enforcement to arrest, detain, and remove people they suspect to have entered Texas from another country without federal authorization. The law’s implementation will lead to racial profiling, separate families, and harm Black and Brown communities across the state. The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, and Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, American Gateways, and El Paso County, arguing that S.B. 4 violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and is preempted by federal law.

Earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an administrative stay that suspended a lower court decision to block S.B. 4 from going into effect while the case is litigated. In response, civil rights groups filed an application to the Supreme Court to vacate the stay. The Fifth Circuit has stated that it will expedite consideration of the appeal and oral arguments have been set for April 3 in New Orleans.

Quotes from co-counsel and plaintiffs are as follows.

Adriana Piñon (she/her), legal director at the ACLU of Texas, said:
“We disagree with the court’s decision. The implementation of this unconstitutional and extreme anti-immigrant law will likely be disastrous for both Texans and our legal system. S.B. 4 threatens our most basic civil and human rights as citizens and non-citizens alike and we recommend anyone threatened by this, including people who fear racial profiling, to remember their rights. We will continue our efforts to halt this hateful law.”

Know Your Rights under S.B. 4:

Anand Balakrishnan (he/him), senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said:
“Today’s decision is disappointing and threatens the integrity of our nation’s immigration laws and bedrock principles of due process. We’ll continue to fight against S.B. 4 until it is struck down once and for all.”

Tami Goodlette (she/her), director of the Beyond Borders Program at TCRP, said:
“Today’s decision is extremely disappointing. Allowing this law to be implemented as the case makes its way through the legal process needlessly puts people’s lives at risk. Everyone, no matter if you have called Texas home for decades or just got here yesterday, deserves to feel safe and have the basic right of due process. We remain committed to the fight to permanently overturn S.B. 4 to show the nation that no state has the power to overtake federal immigration authority.”

Rebecca Lightsey (she/her), co-executive director of American Gateways, said:
“While today's Supreme Court decision is another setback for immigrants and refugees, we will continue to advocate for civil rights and dignity for people fleeing persecution. We all recognize that our current immigration system is broken. It’s past time to take a look at realistic solutions that will help not only those coming and seeking protection, but also the communities that are receiving them.”

Jennifer Babaie (she/her), director of advocacy and legal services Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, said:
“Make no mistake, this decision does not change our commitment to this fight. Everyone, regardless of race or immigration status, has the freedom to move and the freedom to thrive. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to ensure this anti-immigrant and unconstitutional law is struck down for good, and Texans are protected from its inherent discrimination.”

Access the Supreme Court’s order for upholding the Fifth Circuts Administrative Stay here: