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A law that allows Texas law enforcement to arrest anyone suspected of entering the state illegally went into effect Tuesday after the Supreme Court decided to let the appeals process play out in the lower courts.

Hours after the ruling, however, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the law from going into effect. The appellate court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case Wednesday.

The law, known as SB 4, was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in December. It was immediately challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Department of Justice on constitutional grounds. On Feb. 29, U.S. District Judge David Ezra issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from going into effect as planned on March 5. Then, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling two days later, but gave the Supreme Court a week to weigh in.

The Supreme Court issued a stay until March 13, which it then extended twice.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted Tuesday calling the Supreme Court's decision a “huge win.”

“As always, it’s my honor to defend Texas and its sovereignty, and to lead us to victory in court,” he tweeted.

The Supreme Court's decision was worrying to Cesar Espinosa, the executive director of FIEL Houston, a local immigrant rights organization that has been educating the community through Know Your Rights workshops.

“We know this will have a devastating impact on the state's immigrant population, our state economy and our law enforcement,” Espinosa said in a Tuesday press release. “We continue to ride this legal roller coaster in legal terms when it comes to SB 4.”

Other Texas immigrant rights organizations also spoke out against the decision.

“Allowing this law to be implemented as the case makes its way through the legal process needlessly puts people’s lives at risk,” Tami Goodlette, legal director of the Beyond Borders Program at the Texas Civil Rights Project, said in a press release. “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.”

“Migrants and the Latine community have historically been used as scapegoats in America’s political chess game and this is hurting our communities,” said Workers Defense Executive Director Lizeth Chacon in a press release. “Instead of making plans for the upcoming holiday, we have families sitting around the dinner table contemplating moving out of Texas because they feel more at risk than they did when they fled their countries of origin.”

Immigrant rights groups in Houston had been preparing for a long legal battle against the law, but have been surprised by the legal whiplash as the law has been blocked multiple times only to be greenlit today.

The Supreme Court has not yet decided on the merits of the case, and the law could still be stopped by the Supreme Court or another lower court in the future.

In the meantime, FIEL encouraged immigrants to take extra precautions.

“We encourage people to remain vigilant and to continue to prepare for the worst case scenario as this law takes effect,” Espinosa said. “We hope that justice will prevail and the law will be declared as we believe it to be unconstitutional.”

This story was updated to include the latest ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the law late Tuesday.

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Anna-Catherine (Anna-Cat) Brigida is the immigration reporter for Abdelraoufsinno. A Boston native, she began reporting on immigration as a journalism student at USC Annenberg in Los Angeles. Before joining...