Supreme Court Allows SB 4, Texas’s State Deportation Law, to Go Into Effect

Hours Later, 5th Circuit Put SB 4 Back on Hold

UPDATE: Late on March 19, 2024, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved its administrative stay that had allowed SB 4 to go into effect, putting SB 4 on hold--at the moment the law is not in effect. Oral arguments will be heard on this issue today, March 20, 2024.

(Washington)--The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is outraged the Supreme Court will allow SB 4, Texas’ deportation law, to go into effect.

“While we are outraged over this decision, we will continue to work with our partners to have SB 4 struck down,” said Policy Attorney & Strategist Jennefer Canales-Pelaez. “The horrific and clearly unconstitutional impacts of this law on communities in Texas is terrifying.” 

In his ruling last month, U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra ruled that arresting and deporting migrants seeking asylum would violate the Constitution, and placed the law on hold. But the Fifth Circuit blocked that order, and in spite of the clear and imminent harms of implementing SB 4, the Supreme Court allowed the Fifth Circuit’s stay to remain in effect, meaning that the law is no longer blocked by the courts and SB4 is now in effect. The District Court’s injunction, and the legality of SB 4, will still be reviewed by the Fifth Circuit, but the law can take effect while the litigation is ongoing.  

SB 4 empowers a broad array of so-called peace officers to arrest and detain anyone they suspect has crossed into Texas from Mexico without authorization, and empowers magistrate judges to order them deported. The ILRC is mindful that while SB 4’s constitutionality is litigated, arrests and deportations could begin. 

SB 4 is an extension of Operation Lone Star, Gov. Greg Abbott’s unconstitutional and deadly law enforcement scheme that wastes vital state resources to target migrants for arrest, jail, and deportation. Created in March 2021 by Abbott and backed by nearly $5 billion of state funds, this operation is designed to criminalize and endanger border communities and migrants alike, many of whom are seeking safety in the United States. 

The ILRC has developed this travel advisory map that also includes a “know your rights” section that is being distributed throughout Texas. This resource was developed to educate communities on their rights if they are stopped by law enforcement and the map displays the counties in Texas that have implemented policies and actions against immigrants, particularly under OLS and other anti-immigrant legislation. You can find more information on OLS at


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. Follow us, and on Twitter and Instagram @the_ILRC