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Can Texas arrest migrants at border? Back-&-forth rulings spark confusion

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Lawyers for Governor Greg Abbott of Texas and the Biden administration were back in court on Wednesday for the latest round in a bitter fight over immigration enforcement, as a panel of three federal judges in New Orleans heard arguments over the state’s migrant arrest law.
The panel, which did not immediately issue a ruling, was considering whether the law can take effect while its constitutionality is being challenged in court. During the hourlong hearing, only two of the judges spoke, and their comments suggested a split on the panel. Chief judge Priscilla Richman appeared sceptical of the law, particularly its provision allowing state courts to order migrants back to Mexico. Judge Andrew Oldham, a former general counsel to Abbott, focused his questions on justice department’s lawyers and appeared likely to side with Texas. The third judge, Irma Carrillo Ramirez, who did not speak, was appointed by President Biden and confirmed only a few months ago.
The hearing came after a day of back-and-forth rulings that briefly allowed the law to take effect. It would give state and local police agencies the power to arrest migrants who cross into Texas without authorisation – powers the Biden administration says are reserved for the federal govt.

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The rulings had created confusion along the border, outraged immigration advocates and led to a show of defiance by the Mexican govt.

The law would make it a crime to cross into Texas from a foreign country anywhere other than a legal port of entry.

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