Federal judge temporarily blocks Biden’s 100-day deportation moratorium
A federal judge temporarily stopped the Biden government on Tuesdayon certain deportations of immigrants who are already in the US in an early legal battle over President Joe Bidens .
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton of the Southern District of Texas agreed to suspend the ruling for at least 14 days while reviewing a lawsuit brought by Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argued in a complaint on Friday that the deportation freeze was suspended Immigration violated the law and a legal agreement brokered by the state with the Trump administration before Mr Biden took office.
The moratorium, one of Mr Biden’s election pledges, protected most immigrants facing deportation from deportation from the United States as long as they entered the country before November 1, 2020. It does not apply to those who pose a national security risk or are suspected of terrorism or espionage. Immigrants could also agree to leave the country voluntarily.
On Jan. 8, Ken Cuccinelli, who was then the Deputy Department of Homeland Security (DHS), signed an agreement requiring the department to “consult Texas and review its views” before issuing guidelines for enforcement changed federal immigration law.
The DHS has signed similar treaties with other states and locations, but legal experts have questioned whether they are legally enforceable.
Texas alleged in its lawsuit that the DHS should have notified the state of the 100-day deportation break before implementing it. The policy has also been alleged to violate federal immigration law, which regulates the arrests and deportations of immigrants who live in the United States without legal status or who become deportable due to certain criminal convictions.
Justice Department attorneys representing the Biden administration have argued that Texas has failed to demonstrate harm was harmed by the moratorium, calling the legal agreement signed by the Trump administration with Texas “invalid” and “unenforceable”.
“The federal government has the power to enforce the federal immigration law in plenary, and an outgoing administration cannot relinquish this power for an in-depth administration,” wrote the lawyers for the Ministry of Justice on a filing Sunday.
In Tuesday’s order, Tipton, appointed to the Bundesbank by former President Donald Trump, said he believed Texas would likely succeed in arguing that the deportation break was “arbitrary and capricious” and against immigration law.
Tipton said the Biden administration had failed to provide “a concrete, reasonable justification” for the moratorium. A memo signed last week by Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske said the deportation pause is needed for the department to review its immigration enforcement guidelines, raise resources at the U.S.-Mexico border, and review asylum cases and implement COVID-19 mitigation protocols.
“However, the DHS never explains how taking the break in moving helps achieve these goals,” Tipton wrote on his behalf. “It remains unknown why, given the supposedly” unique circumstances “alluded to in the January 20 memorandum, a 100-day break is required.”
Tipton also concluded that the deportation break could “do immediate and irreparable harm” to Texas, saying that the state’s social and educational services could be compromised by the presence of undocumented immigrants. Disregarding the legality of the agreement the Trump administration signed with Texas, he said it raises questions “so serious and constitutionally important that they require further development of protocol and disclosure”.
Tuesday’s order does not prevent the Biden government from enforcing the rest of the provisions in Pekoske’s memo, which include new guidelines restricting who can be arrested by immigration officials.
White House and DHS officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged many of Mr. Trump’s immigration policies, had filed an amicus letter over the weekend in support of the Biden administration, arguing that the DHS went over a long way in deciding whether or not to deport people Discretion.
Huddleston, an attorney for the Texas chapter of the ACLU, said Tipton should not have admitted the Texas lawsuit.
“The government’s deportation pause is not only lawful, it is also necessary to ensure families are not separated and people are not placed unnecessarily at risk while the new administration reviews previous measures,” Huddleston said.
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