A federal judge has blocked the Biden Administration’s order instituting a 100-day moratorium on nearly all deportations of illegal immigrants.
The judge, Drew B. Tipton, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, said that the Biden Administration’s near-blanket moratorium likely violates federal law.
“The Court finds Texas has a substantial likelihood of success on at least two” of its claims, the judge wrote.
Judge Tipton said that the memo “should be set aside pursuant to Section 706 of the APA because it violates 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(1)(A)” which states that “except as otherwise provided in this section, when an alien is ordered removed, the Attorney General shall remove the alien from the United States within a period of 90 days.” The judge also said that “Defendants arbitrarily and capriciously departed from its previous policy without sufficient explanation.”
“Defendants are enjoined from executing the 100-day pause on removals for 14 days,” Judge Tipton wrote.
The judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the United States, prohibiting it from enforcing the Biden Administration’s order until further arguments can be considered.
The lawsuit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who celebrated the ruling and issued a brief statement calling Biden’s order “blatantly illegal.”
“The Court’s decision to stop the Biden Administration from casting aside congressionally enacted immigration laws is a much-needed remedy for DHS’s unlawful action. A near-complete suspension of deportations would only serve to endanger Texans and undermine federal law,” said Attorney General Paxton.
“Blatantly illegal security threats cannot be allowed to stand, and the rule of law must be upheld. I commend the Court for prioritizing the law and safety of our citizens, and I will continue to defend Texas against the unlawful and unconstitutional actions of President Biden and his Administration.”
Shortly after President Joe Biden was sworn in on January 20, his Acting Secretary of Homeland Security David Pekoske issued a memo to the heads of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The memo ordered “an immediate pause on removals of any noncitizen with a final order of removal (except as noted below) for 100 days to go into effect as soon as practical and no later than January 22, 2021.”
It was a fulfillment of Biden’s pledge during his presidential campaign to pause all deportations for the first 100-days of his administration.
There were several narrow exceptions to the order. An illegal alien could be removed if they were found by the director of ICE to have “engaged in or is suspected of terrorism or espionage, or otherwise poses a danger to the national security of the United States; or was not physically present in the United States before November 1, 2020; or has voluntarily agreed to waive any rights to remain in the United States… [or] for whom the Acting Director of ICE, following consultation with the General Counsel, makes an individualized determination that removal is required by law.”
Following the court order, a spokesperson for the White House told Forbes, “We’re confident that as the case proceeds, it will be clear that this measure was wholly appropriate in ordering a temporary pause to allow the agency to carefully review its policies, procedures, and enforcement priorities.”
The case is the State of Texas v. United States of America.
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Photo from TOM BRENNER/REUTERS