A federal judge in Texas has extended the suspension of President Joe Biden’s executive order to halt deportations for a period of 100 days.
In an order dated Monday, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton extended the suspension for an additional 14 days, through Feb. 23, to give parties more time to “provide a more fulsome record” to assist the court in “adjudicating Texas’s motion for a Preliminary Injunction,” Fox News reported.
The Southern District of Texas judge cited “the irreparable harm that would accrue to Texas” if the suspension was not extended.
Tipton wrote that the Biden administration has “argued that the 100-day pause on removals is necessary to allow” it to understand “important immigration, foreign policy and humanitarian considerations.”
“The Court may ultimately be persuaded by the Defendants’ arguments, but any harm they might incur between now and then does not outweigh the potential for irreparable harm to Texas,” the judge said.
The extended suspension came after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration for ordering a pause on all deportations shortly after taking office.
“As of midnight tonight, stop all removals,” the email read. “This includes Mexican bus runs, charter flights and commercial removals (until further notice) … all cases are to be considered [no significant likelihood of removal in foreseeable future].”
Paxton sued, arguing that a deportation moratorium was a violation of federal law, KDFW-TV reported.
Texas had signed an agreement with DHS that required the state to be consulted prior to any actions that would “reduce, redirect, reprioritize, relax, or in any way modify immigration enforcement” agreements with the department under the Trump administration.
Tipton agreed with Paxton at the time and ordered a 14-day suspension on the deportation moratorium, CNN reported.
“In light of the foregoing, the Court finds that the threat of injury to Texas outweighs any potential harm to Defendants and the public interest is served and protected by the issuance of this TRO,” he wrote.
The Washington Post reported that a January memo to ICE agents instructed them not to seek deportations for crimes such as driving under the influence and assault.
Deportations may still be sought for individuals who are considered threats to national security, those who have recently entered the country illegally and individuals who served time in prison for aggravated felonies.
ICE said it will still deport those who commit serious crimes.
“The commission of an aggravated felony is the most conclusive proof of a public safety threat,” ICE spokeswoman Jenny Burke said in a statement. “ICE retains its unlimited discretion to evaluate any conduct in defining a public safety threat.”
DHS director Tae Johnson told his staff that illegal immigrants with records of violent behavior, gang affiliations or aggravated felonies should be considered public safety threats who might qualify for deportations. Crimes such as murder, rape, child abuse and major drug offenses would be included, he said.
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