The Biden administration’s efforts to impose a 100-day pause on deportations of illegal immigrants were dealt another blow on Tuesday when a district judge extended a ban on its imposition in response to a lawsuit from Texas.
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton indefinitely banned enforcement of the Jan. 20 memorandum that would have implemented a 100-day moratorium on most deportations.
Tipton had previously issued a two-week restraining order on the policy after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had argued that it violated federal law and an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Texas be consulted before such a move.
Biden had campaigned on the 100-day pause as part of a sweeping immigration agenda that includes a halt on border wall construction, an end to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
The broad “pause” would have had exceptions. It would exclude those who, according to a written finding by the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have engaged in terrorism or espionage or who pose a danger to national security. It would also exclude those who were not present in the U.S. before Nov. 1, 2020, those who agreed to waive the right to remain, and those whom the ICE director individually determined need to be removed by law.
But Texas argued the directive violates the Constitution and federal law as well as a contractual agreement between Texas and DHS signed in the final days of the Trump administration that the state would be consulted before reducing immigration enforcement or pausing deportations.
The agreement means that DHS must give Texas 180 days’ notice of any proposed change on any matter that would reduce enforcement or increase the number of “removable or inadmissible aliens” in the U.S. Paxton claims that agreement has been violated.Video
“Our state defends the largest section of the southern border in the nation. Failure to properly enforce the law will directly and immediately endanger our citizens and law enforcement personnel,” Paxton said in a statement last month announcing the lawsuit.
The administration has since issued guidance to ICE agents, informing them that they will need preapproval from managers to arrest some illegal immigrants if they do not fall into the categories similar to those that were also exempted from the deportation freeze.
The guidance is temporary, lasting three months, until DHS can issue further guidance. Officials said the guidance does not explicitly prevent anyone from being arrested or deported. Instead, it directs resources at certain targets.