Advertisement

Judge bars Biden from enforcing 100-day deportation moratorium

President Biden speaks at a lectern with flags and a painting of Abraham Lincoln behind him.
President Biden delivers remarks on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House on Friday.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press )

A federal judge on Tuesday barred the U.S. government from enforcing a 100-day deportation moratorium that is a key immigration priority of President Biden.

U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a temporary restraining order sought by Texas, which sued Friday against a Department of Homeland Security memo that instructed immigration agencies to pause most deportations.

Tipton’s order is an early blow to the Biden administration, which has proposed far-reaching changes sought by immigration advocates, including a plan to legalize an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Biden promised during his campaign to pause most deportations for 100 days.

The order represents a victory for Texas’ Republican leaders, who often sued to stop programs enacted by Biden’s Democratic predecessor, President Obama. It also showed that just as Democratic-led states and immigration groups fought former President Trump over immigration in court, often successfully, so too will Republicans with Biden in office.

Advertisement

Blinken has pledged to be a leading force in the administration’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world.

David Pekoske, the acting Homeland Security secretary, signed a memo on Biden’s first day directing immigration authorities to focus on national security and public safety threats as well as anyone apprehended entering the U.S. illegally after Nov. 1. That was a reversal from Trump administration policy that made anyone in the U.S. illegally a priority for deportation.

The 100-day moratorium went into effect Friday and applied to almost anyone who entered the U.S. without authorization before November.

Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton argued that the moratorium violated federal law as well as an agreement Texas signed with the Department of Homeland Security late in the Trump administration. That agreement required Homeland Security to consult with Texas and other states before taking any action to “reduce, redirect, reprioritize, relax, or in any way modify immigration enforcement.”

Advertisement

The Biden administration argued in court filings that the agreement is unenforceable because “an outgoing administration cannot contract away that power for an incoming administration.” Paxton’s office, meanwhile, submitted a Fox News opinion article as evidence that “refusal to remove illegal aliens is directly leading to the immediate release of additional illegal aliens in Texas.”

Paxton has championed conservative and far-right causes in court, including a failed lawsuit seeking to overturn Biden’s victory over Trump, as he himself faces an FBI investigation over accusations by top former aides that he abused his office at the service of a donor.


Advertisement
Advertisement