Biden administration loses court ruling on ICE deportations guidelines

Biden administration loses court ruling on ICE deportations guidelines
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Judge Michael Newman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled on Tuesday that the memo issued by DHS Secretary Mayorkas to ICE agents on deportations violates the law. The memo instructed ICE officers to prioritize certain groups of immigrants for arrest and deportation. The federal judge ruled that Mayorkas’ memo violates deportation laws. ICE agents break the law as they follow the guidance issued by Mayorkas on deportation.

In October 2021 Mayorkas issued a memo meant to create levels of priority in deportation decisions. ICE agents were told to pursue only the illegal immigrants who are deemed as either national security threats or public safety threats. Also, priority is to be given to those who crossed the border illegally most recently. The memo is similar to two others issued earlier in 2021 by the Biden administration. All of the memos narrow the categories of illegal immigrants who are subject to deportation.

The October 2021 memo, as well as the previous ones, are a part of Biden’s plan to end deportation of illegal immigrants a pledge he campaigned on when he ran for president in 2020. He promised to freeze deportations and issue blanket amnesty to illegal aliens already living in the United States. In the first six months of his term in office, deportations were down by 90%. By February 2022, deportations were at a five year low.

The new rules are a travesty and result in cases like DHS rescinding a deportation order for an illegal alien who killed a 19 year old driver in a car crash. Apparently, opinions on public safety threats are subjective. The new rules give more discretion to the ICE agents in deportations and that is where the rub comes in, according to Judge Newman’s ruling. ICE agents decide whether or not illegal immigrants with criminal convictions threaten public safety. Agents are instructed to consider factors like the gravity of the offense, as well as prior arrests. Prior service in the military can be used as a mitigating factor in decisions, and the amount of time the illegal immigrant has lived in the United States. In other words, if there is a compelling story to tell about how the illegal immigrant has lived in this country long enough to find a job, pay local and state taxes, and live as a part of a local community, that person probably isn’t thought to be enough of a threat to deport. This thinking is what ushers in blanket amnesty. It puts ICE agents sideways with existing laws, too, according to Judge Newman.

Judge Newman’s ruling means that ICE agents will not be able to use Mayorkas’ guidance memo when making deportation decisions on illegal immigrants facing mandatory deportation.

In his ruling, Newman recognized that federal officials have discretion when enforcing immigration laws, saying Mayorkas’ “balancing analysis is acceptable at certain points in the removal process.” But he said Congress mandated the detention of immigrants with certain criminal convictions and those with final orders of deportation.

“The Permanent Guidance displaces the custody and removal factors Congress intended DHS officials to consider for its extra-textual totality-of-the-circumstances analysis,” Newman wrote in his 79-page opinion.

Through his nationwide injunction, Newman prohibited federal agents from relying on Mayorkas’ guidance to make “custody decisions” about immigrants subject to mandatory detention. He also blocked the use of the memo to release or delay the deportation of immigrants with final orders of deportation.

One reason Mayorkas changed the rules to prioritize deportations is because of the mess created by the Biden border crisis. Border Patrol and other law enforcement agents on the border cannot keep up with the flood of illegal immigrants. Joe Biden promised open borders, essentially, and the world listened. Migrants began to flood the border as soon as Biden came into office expecting to be waved in and allowed to stay.

We will wait and see if ICE complies with the ruling handed down by Judge Newman. The Justice Department can appeal the order. This is the latest example of the continuing legal battles between the Biden administration and state officials looking for solutions for the humanitarian and public health crisis on the border. This order by Judge Newman is a victory for Republican officials in Arizona, Montana, and Ohio. They filed the lawsuit against Mayorkas’ memo. Thanks to persistent resistance by officials in border states, as well as other states who are dealing with the fall-out of Biden’s border crisis, Biden has not had the smooth transition he thought he would have in border policy. He has done his best to do away with policies and agreements that worked in the previous administration. Biden shows no inclination to protect the sovereignty of the United States.

In January, Mayorkas boasted about the “fundamental” change he is ushering in at DHS.

“We have fundamentally changed immigration enforcement in the interior,” Mayorkas told CBS News. “For the first time ever, our policy explicitly states that a non-citizen’s unlawful presence in the United States will not, by itself, be a basis for the initiation of an enforcement action.”

It’s nothing to brag about. The Biden administration shows weakness in enforcing our laws and keeping our borders secure. It’s a national security issue and a top priority in the president’s job description. Joe Biden continues to fail us miserably.

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