Texas Federal Judge Blocks Biden’s 100-day Deportation Moratorium

Texas Federal Judge Blocks Biden’s 100-day Deportation Moratorium

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
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January 27, 2021

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations after a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Biden’s moratorium was issued on the day of his presidential inauguration, along with 16 other executive orders which sought to roll back policies from the Trump administration. According to a DHS memo, the moratorium excludes any immigrant who is “suspected of terrorism or espionage, or otherwise poses a danger to the national security of the United States,” those who entered after Nov. 1 and those who have voluntarily waived any rights to remain in the country. Biden’s order holds continuity with the Obama-era Priority Enforcement Program which sought to prioritize border security resources on the biggest threats to public safety. 

In response to the deportation moratorium, Paxton filed his first lawsuit against the federal government. He argued that the order violates the U.S. Constitution, as well as an agreement between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Texas. On Friday, he asked the U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a nominee of former President Donald Trump, to block the new policy. 

On Tuesday, Tipton issued an order which blocked the 100-day moratorium for 14 days as the state’s case against the moratorium continues. He argued that the Biden administration does “not have discretion to completely disregard” federal code that says “when an alien is ordered removed, the Attorney General shall remove the alien from the United States within a period of 90 days.”

The judge also wrote that he was persuaded that the moratorium would hurt Texas economically. 

“Texas demonstrates that it pays millions of dollars annually to provide social services and uncompensated healthcare expenses and other state-provided benefits to illegal aliens such as the Emergency Medicaid program, the Family Violence Program, and the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program,” Tipton wrote. “Additionally, Texas has presented evidence that it would incur increased educational costs.”

“Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Admin,” Paxton tweeted. “AND WE WON. Within 6 days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze. *This* was a seditious left-wing insurrection. And my team and I stopped it.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, who filed a brief urging Tipton to deny Paxton’s request, decried the ruling. Kate Huddleston, attorney for the ACLU of Texas, denounced Paxton and insisted that the administration’s pause on deportation was “not only lawful but necessary.”  

“Paxton sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by attempting to baselessly suppress votes; now he is attempting to force the Biden administration to follow Trump’s xenophobic policies,” Huddleston said.

Despite Tuesday’s setback for Biden, his administration is reportedly planning to issue more executive orders on immigration on Friday this week.  He is expected to make executive orders on regional migration and border processing, the US refugee policy, the establishment of a family reunification task force, and an immediate review of the Public Charge Rule.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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