Seen as initial blow to Biden’s promise to reverse Trump policies and overhaul immigration system.
In an early blow to President Joe Biden’s plans to overhaul America’s immigration system, including legalizing 11 million undocumented immigrants, a federal judge in Texas has blocked his 100-day moratorium on most deportations.
US District Judge Drew Tipton Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order that halts the moratorium that the Biden administration announced on its first day.
Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the 100-day pause, which was announced in a memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security.
“The January 20 Memorandum not only fails to consider potential policies more limited in scope and time, but it also fails to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations,” Tipton ruled, according to Politico.
The order represents the first notable setback to Biden’s immigration agenda, which is largely focused on undoing former President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policies, Politico noted.
The 100-day pause went into effect on Friday. Biden, while campaigning, had promised he would put a stop to deportations for 100 days, a move that was welcomed by immigrant advocates looking to see if he was serious about making immigration reform a priority.
In the lawsuit, Paxton argued that the moratorium violated federal law and agreements that DHS signed with Texas and several other states that would require the department to provide notice and allow time for a review before making certain immigration policy changes.
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However, Tipton’s order specified that the decision was not based on that agreement between DHS and Texas.
“The issues implicated by that Agreement are of such gravity and constitutional import that they require further development of the record and briefing prior to addressing the merits,” the ruling explains.
But Tipton, according to the order, found that Texas was able to prove that the pause “establishes a substantial risk of imminent and irreparable harm to Texas.”
He added that Texas was able to demonstrate “a substantial likelihood of success” in its claim that the moratorium violates federal law.
In its memorandum, DHS explained that it would implement a 100-day pause on certain removals “to enable focusing the Department’s resources where they are most needed.”
The department also noted the “unique circumstances” the U.S. is facing along the southern border given the pandemic.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske issued a memo to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and Citizen and Immigration Services on Jan. 20, the day Biden was inaugurated.
It declared a review of policies and practices throughout the department and its components — including a 100-day pause on the removal of certain noncitizens. Paxton argued the moratorium would be harmful to his state.
“Our state defends the largest section of the southern border in the nation,” Paxton said. “Failure to properly enforce the law will directly and immediately endanger our citizens and law enforcement personnel.”
Kate Huddleston of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas criticized Paxton and argued his lawsuit shouldn’t be allowed to proceed.
“The administration’s pause on deportations is not only lawful but necessary to ensure that families are not separated and people are not returned to danger needlessly while the new administration reviews past actions,” Huddleston said in a statement.
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