Last Wednesday, after Joe Biden was inaugurated as President of the United States, the top official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memo demanding many deportations to be paused. But on Tuesday, a Texas judge blocked the move.
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, who was nominated by former President Trump on February 4, 2020, then confirmed by the Senate on June 3, 2020, issued a temporary restraining order blocking the move for 14 days on Tuesday.
Last Wednesday, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security David Pekoske wrote:
This memorandum directs Department of Homeland Security components to conduct a review of policies and practices concerning immigration enforcement. It also sets interim policies during the course of that review, including a 100-day pause on certain removals to enable focusing the Department’s resources where they are most needed. The United States faces significant operational challenges at the southwest border as it is confronting the most serious global public health crisis in a century.
But on Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a complaint arguing that Texas would face irreparable harm from a deportation freeze. He said it would increase education and healthcare costs. “Paxton also said it went against the terms of an enforcement agreement Texas brokered with the Trump administration less than two weeks before Biden took office,” Reuters reported.
“On January 8, Ken Cuccinelli, who was then the second-in-command at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), signed an agreement committing the department ‘to consult Texas and consider its views’ before changing policies governing the enforcement of federal immigration law,” CBS News explained.
Judge Tipton stated that Texas had “a substantial likelihood of success” arguing that the deportation freeze violated a federal immigration law and that the Biden administration “arbitrarily and capriciously departed from its previous policy without sufficient explanation” when it issued the memo.
Tipton added that the Biden administration failed to “provide any concrete, reasonable justification” for the moratorium. He wrote that the 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,” as CNBC noted.
Tipton stated, “DHS, however, never explains how the pause in removals helps accomplish these goals. It remains unknown why a 100-day pause is needed given the allegedly ‘unique circumstances’ to which the January 20 Memorandum alludes.” He also asserted that the pause could cause “imminent and irreparable harm” to Texas.
Paxton reacted to the judges’ decision by saying, “The Court’s decision to stop the Biden Administration from casting aside congressionally enacted immigration laws is a much-needed remedy for DHS’s unlawful action. A near-complete suspension of deportations would only serve to endanger Texans and undermine federal law,” CNN reported, adding, “The Biden moratorium covers most deportations but excludes individuals who came to the U.S. after November 1, are suspected of terrorism or espionage or pose a danger to national security, have waived rights to remain in the U.S. or who’ve been determined removable by the acting director, according to an agency memo.”