In September, the Department of Homeland Security directed US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to prioritize the detention of border crossers and immigrants who pose a threat to national security and public safety, and to consider giving immigrants a break with mitigating factors. , like farm workers picking crops and grandmothers looking after American children.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas said being in the country without permission “should not alone be the basis” for arrest or deportation, a shift from the Trump administration’s view.
Republican prosecutors across the country filed lawsuits, and those lawsuits were successful in Texas and Louisiana. Judge Drew Tipton of Texas agreed with the argument that the policy burdened them with costs for immigrants’ education, health care and other services, and ignored federal laws requiring Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain and deport immigrants who commit serious crimes or obtain a permit. Recent deportation orders.
Tipton, who was appointed to the platform by President Donald Trump, sided with states and eliminated ICE’s priorities, leaving the agency without any operational guidelines. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the administration’s petition to suspend Tipton’s order while it considers the merits of the case.
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This was the opposite of what the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found when it considered an almost identical case brought by Arizona, Montana and Ohio.
Chief Justice Jeffrey Sutton, a Republican appointee, wrote that DHS policy “does not tie the hands of immigration officials” and that congressional mandates have some flexibility.
Federal laws require Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain immigrants with serious criminal records and anyone with a final deportation order with the goal of deporting them within 90 days. Sutton wrote that this enforcement was never achieved. “Which presidential administration since this law went into effect in 1996, it is fair to ask, has come close to disqualifying all eligible non-citizens within 90 days, whether or not on legally permissible grounds?” he wrote.
Sutton writes that Republican and Democratic administrations have long set their own executive priorities. Under Trump, anyone in the United States could be an unlawful target for enforcement, while the Obama administration has tried to limit deportations to “criminals, not families.”
The Fifth District committee said it was “inclined to agree” with Tipton, and rejected the Biden administration’s request to remain on Tipton’s decision eliminating ICE’s enforcement priorities.
The Texas case is among a series of lawsuits that have sought to overturn Biden’s immigration policies, which he described as a more humane approach to enforcement. The president tried to “stop” deportations for 100 days, a policy that Tipton also blocked, and introduced a bill that would allow most of the 11 million illegal immigrants to obtain US citizenship. The bill largely failed in a divided Congress.
Attorney General Elizabeth Prilugar on July 8 asked the Supreme Court for an emergency halt to the work of the Fifth Circuit, writing in a brief that Tipton’s decision turned the agency on its head.
“Thousands of Department of Homeland Security employees across the country have been told that they should disregard their training and stop considering the Secretary’s instructions,” she wrote in the application. “This ruling frustrates the Secretary’s direction of the administration he leads and disrupts DHS’s efforts to focus its limited resources on non-citizens who pose the most serious threat to national security, public safety, and the integrity of our nation’s borders.”
Mayorcas said his policy guidelines incited agents to prioritize just as he had done as an American attorney in Los Angeles years earlier. He said the agency’s resources are limited and should be used effectively to make communities and borders safer.
“Is the grandmother who entered this country 30 years ago, who cleaned the homes of our neighbors for a better life for her grandchildren who are American citizens, really posing a threat to public safety?” He said in an interview in September when the guidelines were published.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations and arrests fell to the lowest levels in the agency’s history last fiscal year. Officers serving in the interior of the United States carried out about 74,000 administrative detentions, down from 104,000 the previous year and an average of 148,000 annually from 2017 through 2019.
Texas and Louisiana argue that enforcement has remained low, despite record concerns at the border that Republicans associate with Biden’s more lenient immigration policies. They challenge the administration’s claim that it lacks sufficient funding to detain and deport immigrants, noting that the president’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year calls for a “significant reduction” in detention beds from 34,000 to 25,000.
The states wrote to the Supreme Court, opposing the administration’s request to stay.
Daniel Bebel, deputy executive assistant director for enforcement and removals at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a government affidavit that it would be “impossible” for the agency to detain every person eligible for deportation. ICE has 6,000 immigration officers, 34,000 holding beds, and as of early June, more than 4 million illegal immigrants in caseload, including 327,000 people with criminal histories.