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In a huge blow to the Biden administration’s immigration policy, a federal judge has tossed rules governing the arrest and deportation of illegal immigrants, saying that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas exceeded his authority in making them.
The policies grew out of a September 2021 memo from Mayorkas that “directed immigration officials to focus on arresting immigrants deemed to threaten public safety or national security and migrants who recently crossed a U.S. border illegally,” according to CBS News.
U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee, agreed to void the memo but held off enforcing his ruling for seven days while the Biden administration fashioned a response.
The rule had been challenged by officials in Texas and Louisiana on the grounds that Mayorkas did not possess the authority to interpret immigration law in that way.
Federal judges appointed by Mr. Trump have blocked the Biden administration from ending a policy that requires asylum-seekers to wait for their court hearings in Mexico andthat allows border officials to quickly expel migrants. Tipton himself an 100-day moratorium on deportations during Mr. Biden’s first month in office, as well as an earlier that limited immigration arrests.
The Justice Department, which represents the federal government in litigation, declined to comment on Friday’s court order. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers, said officials are “currently assessing the court order and considering next steps.”
In his September 2021 letter, Mayorkas tried to argue that simply being in the country illegally was not sufficient cause to arrest someone. Only if they posed a threat to national security, border security, or public safety should authorities then arrest and deport them.
But Tipton portrayed Mayorkas’ memo as too restrictive on ICE agents, saying it effectively shielded some immigrants with criminal records from arrest. He found that the directive’s implementation violated laws mandating the detention of immigrants convicted of certain crimes or with final orders of deportation.
“It is also true that the Executive Branch may prioritize its resources. But it must do so within the bounds set by Congress,” Tipton wrote in his 96-page opinion. “Whatever the outer limits of its authority, the Executive Branch does not have the authority to change the law.”
Gee, ya think? The Obama administration was famous for issuing immigration directives that made-up immigration laws as they went along. So it should be no surprise that the Biden administration is trying the same tricks.