A federal judge in Texas on Friday granted a request by Republican-led states to throw out one of President Joe Biden’s major policies limiting who federal immigration agents should seek to arrest and deport from the U.S., declaring the directive unlawful.
U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas did not have the authority to issue a September 2021 memo that directed immigration officials to “use discretion” and prioritize arresting immigrants who “pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
Tipton’s 96-page ruling Friday would nullify the guidance from Mayorkas and takes effect in seven days, giving the Biden administration time to appeal the ruling.
A DHS spokesperson told CBS News that officials are “currently assessing the court order and considering next steps.”
“The Executive Branch may prioritize its resources. But it must do so within the bounds set by Congress,” Tipton wrote. “Using the words ‘discretion’ and ‘prioritization,’ the Executive Branch claims the authority to suspend statutory mandates. The law does not sanction this approach.”
Mayorkas’s memo instructed ICE agents to weigh “aggravating factors,” such as the gravity of crimes, the harm inflicted on victims and previous convictions, as well as “mitigating factors,” like the age of the immigrant, the time they have lived in the U.S. and military service, when deciding whether to make an arrest.
Tipton said that analysis limits ICE agents’ discretion and violates the mandatory detention laws.
“At times, agents and officers on the ground are forced to make quick decisions as they encounter individuals, and this scheme ties their hands and changes the standard under which they make decisions on whom to detain and when,” Tipton wrote.
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