UNITED STATES: Texas and Louisiana won a temporary legal victory from the U.S. Supreme Court in the border states’ fight to overturn a September 2021 Biden administration immigration policy.
In an unclarified decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court permitted a federal judge in Texas to overturn a Biden Administration immigration policy that, in the opinion of the prosecutors in the border states, restricts border officials’ power to detain and deport illegal aliens.
The decision is a political setback for the Biden administration, which is attempting to balance a record-breaking increase in illegal immigration, overworked ICE, and a plan to replace the Trump administration’s stricter border policy in the face of bipartisan condemnation.
Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson all dissented in this case. It was Jackson’s first vote after taking office last month.
Late in September 2021, the DHS released new enforcement rules for immigration, instructing border guards to use “discretion” and give priority to arresting or expelling illegal aliens who “represent a threat to national security, public safety, and border security.”
The September 2021 guideline, when put into operation, states that an enforcement action against an illegal alien “should not alone constitute the foundation of an enforcement action against them.”
This advice is in stark contrast to the DHS policy of the Trump administration, which directs immigration authorities to detain and deport illegal aliens without discrimination. This includes the exception of a small number of circumstances, such as those involving those who entered the country as children or those who are parents of citizens or permanent residents.
Texas and Louisiana now have a temporary advantage, at least until the Supreme Court considers their case during the December 2022 oral argument session after the top court upheld a federal court’s decision in June 2022 to invalidate the Biden administration’s September 2021 DHS advice.
It is “impossible to refute” that the DHS’s September 2021 letter caused harm to the state of Texas, according to Trump nominee Judge Drew Tipton of the Texas District Court for the Southern District.
Tipton, who supported the border states, claimed that “undisputed information” demonstrated that the September 2021 directive increased the flow of illegal immigrants into Texas, necessitating higher state expenditures for administration, detention, healthcare, and prosecution.
Although the DHS claims that some immigration data shows an increase in the number of arrests and expulsions as a result of its directive to “prioritise” criminally convicted aliens, the district court went on to say that the increase is disproportionate in light of the “unprecedented surge of illegal aliens pouring over the border.”
Biden vs the border states
Two days after Biden assumed office, the border states and the Biden Administration began an ongoing legal battle.
The state attorney general of Texas claimed that a DHS memo from January 20 stopped the deportation of the “vast majority of illegal aliens without any respect for particular circumstances,” prompting Texas to request a court injunction.
The DHS released fresh immigration regulations in February 2021 and yet another in September 2021 as the legal battle dragged on. Texas and Louisiana filed a lawsuit against the most recent set of regulations in Texas’ District Court for the Southern District.
Tipton concluded in June 2022 that the federal government cannot “force its officials to act in a manner that violates with a statutory duty established by Congress,” siding with the border state attorneys general.
The DHS’s September 2021 guideline is “contrary to law,” “arbitrary and capricious,” and “failed to obey” essential government protocol, according to Texas and Louisiana, Tipton stated.
The Biden administration unsuccessfully appealed Tipton’s decision to a three-judge panel.
In an unsigned ruling dated July 6, 2022, the judges of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stated that some of the Biden administration’s concerns were raised in its September 2021 guidelines. Those replacing “Congress’s statutory obligations” in particular are “extralegal” and “plainly outside of the limitations of power” granted to Congress by the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The Texas attorney general hailed the Supreme Court decision as “another triumph” for Texas and border security at the same time.
“Yesterday the Supreme Court made clear that, while we prepare for oral argument this winter, the Biden Administration must detain illegal aliens with criminal convictions,” Paxton said in a July 22 press release.
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