Corpus Christi, TX – A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday indefinitely banned President Joe Biden’s administration from putting a pause on most deportations of illegal immigrants.
The 100-day moratorium on deportations was a major part of President Biden’s promised review of immigration enforcement with the goal of reversing all the pro-enforcement steps taken by former President Donald Trump, NBC News reported.
U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton granted a temporary restraining order that had been requested by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Jan. 26 and said that the state had demonstrated a likelihood of facing immediate harm from pausing deportations, The Washington Post reported.
Paxton’s lawsuit claimed that Biden’s pause violated an agreement between Texas and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Paxton signed an agreement with Ken Cuccinelli, who was then Acting Deputy Secretary of DHS, in early January, The Washington Post reported.
“The federal government has plenary power over the enforcement of federal immigration law, and an outgoing administration cannot contract away that power for an incoming administration,” federal attorneys argued.
But on Feb. 23, Tipton said the DHS memo that announced the 100-day pause on deportations three days after President Biden was sworn into office failed to “consider potential policies more limited in scope and time” and “provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause,” Politico reported.
“This preliminary injunction is granted on a nationwide basis and prohibits enforcement and implementation of the [100-day pause] in every place Defendants have jurisdiction to enforce and implement the January 20 Memorandum,” the judge wrote.
He said he found that Texas had proven the 100-day moratorium on deportations would threaten the state with financial harm, Politico reported.
HUGE WIN. The first of many against Biden’s unlawful agenda. My team & I have fought tirelessly for TX, and we’ve built a nat’l coalition to stop Dems’ unconstitutional actions. The media’s ridiculous stories won’t stop my work. I’ll con’t to press on for freedom & for TX. #TEXAS pic.twitter.com/4U11l1ENKv
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) February 24, 2021
Tipton also ruled that the manner in which the moratorium was rolled out violated administrative laws and procedures, Politico reported.
“[T]he core failure of DHS lies not in the brevity of the January 20 Memorandum or the corresponding administrative record, but instead in its omission of a rational explanation grounded in the facts reviewed and the factors considered,” the judge wrote. “This failure is fatal, as this defect essentially makes DHS’s determination to institute a 100-day pause on deportations an arbitrary and capricious choice.”
Tipton applied the preliminary injunction to the entire United States and it will remain in place until it is overturned by a higher court, according to Politico.
The judge did not block all of the immigration policy changes called for in the DHS memo and explicitly said in his ruling that it did not apply to other immigration enforcement reforms that the memo called for.
The ruling also didn’t call for deportations to resume at the pace they had gone during the Trump administration, NBC News reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) complained the judge was throwing up roadblocks to prevent the Biden administration from rolling back Trump administration reforms.
“This ruling is legally wrong and will seriously harm families and communities around the country,” Cody Wofsy, a lawyer for the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said. “Texas’ suit is an attempt to deprive the Biden administration of a meaningful opportunity to review and assess immigration enforcement after years of living under lawless Trump policies.”
It was not immediately clear whether if the Biden administration would appeal the ruling, NBC News reported.
The U.S. Department of Justice did not attempt to get a stay on Tipton’s temporary restraining order in January.