This article has been updated with a response from the governor that was posted to social media.

The United States Supreme Court has indefinitely extended a pause on the implementation of Texas’ new border security law.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 4 of the 88th Legislature’s fourth special session in December. The measure made it a state crime to enter Texas illegally and empowered local law enforcement to administer the new rule. It was slated to take effect on March 5.

However, after the federal government challenged the measure in a lawsuit, the U.S. District Court in Western Texas blocked it from taking effect on February 29.

Judge David Alan Ezra—who is from the U.S. District Court in Hawaii but was assigned to Western Texas due to a backlog of cases—argued the law “threatens the fundamental notion that the United States must regulate immigration with one voice.”

He also consolidated the federal government’s lawsuit with a similar one filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, and Texas Civil Rights Project in December on behalf of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, American Gateways, and El Paso County.

“[T]o allow Texas to permanently supersede federal directives on the basis of an invasion would amount to nullification of federal law and authority — a notion that is antithetical to the Constitution and has been unequivocally rejected by federal courts since the Civil War,” Ezra wrote.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit disagreed with Ezra’s argument, pausing his decision in a March 2 ruling that was scheduled to take effect March 10th.

Federal officials promptly filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court to reinstate the temporary pause on Texas’ measure. Justice Samuel Alito granted a temporary pause in the Fifth Circuit’s ruling until March 13, which was later extended to March 18.

Now, the pause has been extended yet again—without any expiration date.

Shortly after the SCOTUS decision was issued, Abbott posted on social media that the state would continue “using its authority to arrest illegal immigrants for criminal trespass and other violations of law.”

Back in January, Abbott maintained in a letter that the measure was part of a concerted effort to hold the federal government accountable for violating Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. The governor wrote:

James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and the other visionaries who wrote the U.S. Constitution foresaw that States should not be left to the mercy of a lawless president who does nothing to stop external threats like cartels smuggling millions of illegal immigrants across the border.

“That is why the Framers included both Article IV, § 4, which promises that the federal government ‘shall protect each [State] against invasion,’ and Article I, § 10, Clause 3, which acknowledges ‘the States’ sovereign interest in protecting their borders,’” added Abbott.

Luca Cacciatore

Luca H. Cacciatore is a journalist for Texas Scorecard. He is an American Moment inaugural fellow and former welder.