Texas Judge Blocks Biden’s Deportation Freeze for Two More Weeks

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
February 9, 2021Politics
Texas Judge Blocks Biden’s Deportation Freeze for Two More Weeks
Border Patrol apprehends illegal aliens who have just crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico near McAllen, Texas, on April 18, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

A federal judge in Texas extended the suspension of President Joe Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations until Feb. 23.

U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton in the Southern District of Texas on Tuesday ruled that the federal government cannot make immigration enforcement changes without consulting Texas. As a result, he extended the temporary restraining order by another 14 days, asserting that the state of Texas would face more harm than the federal government if the extension wasn’t granted.

”The irreparable harm that would accrue to Texas if an extension of the [temporary restraining order] is not granted before consideration of its motion for a preliminary injunction is more substantial than any harm incurred by the defendants,” wrote Tipton in his ruling, adding that his ruling will give parties more time to “provide for a more fulsome record” to assist the court in “adjudicating Texas’s motion for a preliminary injunction.”

His order noted (pdf) that the Biden administration had argued that the 100-day pause on removals is needed to allow the White House to take into account considerations on immigration, foreign policy, and humanitarian needs.

According to Tipton, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, “extending the [temporary restraining order] is proper because the additional time is necessary for the record to be more fully developed.”

US border wall construction
A loader grades land near a section of privately-built border wall under construction near Mission, Texas, on Dec. 11, 2019. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, sued the Biden administration over its order to pause some deportations, asserting that the White House would violate its agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S.-Mexico border security, and instead requires 180 days’ notice to change immigration policy.

“On its first day in office, the Biden Administration cast aside congressionally enacted immigration laws and suspended the removal of illegal aliens whose removal is compelled by those very laws. In doing so, it ignored basic constitutional principles and violated its written pledge to work cooperatively with the State of Texas to address shared immigration enforcement concerns,” Paxton’s lawsuit said. “This unlawful reversal will cause Texas immediate and irreparable harm if it is not enjoined.”

On Jan. 20, Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske wrote in a memo (pdf) to direct the “immediate pause on removals of any noncitizen with a final order of removal (except as noted below) for 100 days.”

But Pekoske’s memo affects nearly every illegal immigrant with pending deportations “including those whose removal was ordered following a full and fair hearing and those who are not entitled—and do not claim to be entitled—to further immigration benefits,” Paxton wrote in his suit.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the DHS for comment.

Separately, on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced that illegal immigrants who were convicted of assault or driving under the influence won’t be deported under new guidelines provided by the Biden administration.

“The priority for the enforcement of immigration law will be on those who are posing a national security threat, of course a public safety threat, and on recent arrivals. Nobody is saying that DUIs or assault are acceptable behavior, and those arrested for such activity should be tried and sentenced as appropriate by local law enforcement. But we are talking about the prioritization of who is going to be deported from the country,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times