Federal Judge Indefinitely Blocks Biden Administration’s 100-Day Deportation Moratorium

Brittany Bernstein
·2-min read

A federal judge on Tuesday indefinitely banned the Biden administration from enforcing a 100-day pause on deportations of most illegal immigrants in response to a lawsuit from Texas, which argued that the moratorium violated federal law and could saddle the state with additional costs.

U.S. district judge Drew Tipton issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday, dealing a blow to President Biden’s efforts to follow through on his campaign promise to pause most deportations. The pause would not have applied to those who have engaged in terrorism or espionage or who pose a danger to national security. It would also have excluded those who were not present in the U.S. before November 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.

Tipton first ruled on January 26 that the pause violated federal law on administrative procedure and that the U.S. failed to show why a deportation pause was justified. He issued a temporary two-week restraining order, which was set to expire Tuesday.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton argued that Biden’s January 20 memorandum violated federal law and an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security that Texas be consulted before reducing immigration enforcement or pausing deportations.

As part of the agreement, 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 United States.

However, the ruling does not require deportations to resume at their previous pace and immigration agencies have broad discretion in enforcing removals and processing cases.

In the wake of the first ruling, authorities deported hundreds of people to Central America and 15 people to Jamaica. The administration has also continued deportations that began under the Trump administration due to a public-health law in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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