Houston – A federal judge on Tuesday night indefinitely barred President Joe Biden’s administration from imposing a 100-day moratorium on most deportations. Federal District Judge Drew Tipton issued a preliminary injunction requested by Texas, which argued that the moratorium violated federal law and ran the risk of imposing additional costs on the state.
Biden proposed the 100-day pause in deportations during his campaign as part of a broader review of immigration law enforcement and an attempt to reverse former President Donald Trump’s priorities.
Biden has proposed a comprehensive immigration bill that would allow the legalization of approximately 11 million people living illegally in the United States. It has also instituted other guidelines on who immigration and border agents should turn to for enforcement.
Tipton, a Trump appointee, initially ruled on January 26 that the moratorium violated federal law on administrative procedures and that the United States did not demonstrate why a deportation pause was warranted. A temporary restraining order issued by the judge expired Tuesday.
Tipton’s ruling did not require deportations to resume at the previous rate. Even without a moratorium, immigration agencies have wide latitude to enforce deportations and prosecute cases.
But in the days that followed his ruling, authorities deported 15 people to Jamaica and hundreds more to Central America. The Biden administration has also continued to expel immigrants under a separate process initiated by Trump officials, who invoked the public health law because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Texas American Civil Liberties Union attorney Kate Huddleston reacted angrily to the latest ruling, saying in a statement that, “Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton continues … to seek to force the Biden administration to follow the xenophobic policies of former President Trump. Allowing these deportations to continue means that families will be torn apart and people who have the opportunity to seek help in the United States will be returned to danger. “
The legal fight for a ban on deportation is an early sign of Republican opposition to Biden’s immigration priorities, just as Democrats and pro-immigrant legal groups opposed Trump’s proposals. Almost four years before Tipton’s order, Trump signed a travel ban from seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations that caused chaos at airports. Legal groups successfully sued to stop the implementation of the ban.
It was not immediately clear whether the Biden administration will appeal Tipton’s latest ruling. The Justice Department did not seek a stay of Tipton’s previous temporary restraining order.