Federal Judge Blocks Biden Administration’s Novel Restrictions on Border Enforcement

Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

On Tuesday, a federal court ruled against the Biden administration’s recent border policies curbing the circumstances under which Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can detain and deport illegal immigrants.  This comes as Republican lawmakers from multiple states filed a lawsuit against the administration’s order, claiming that the executive branch had overstepped its authority.    


The directive was released in September by United States Secretary of State Alejandro Mayorkas.  Under the novel guidelines, ICE would no longer be able to apprehend and deport immigrants simply for their illegal entry into the country.  Instead, the order curtailed ICE’s ability to deport illegal immigrants, shifting the agency’s focus towards detaining border crossers who posed a significant national security threat.


In particular, the order only allowed border crossers to be detained if they fell into at least one of three categories.  (1) those who posed serious national security threats (2) illegal immigrants who have committed aggravated felony offenses.  (3) recent border crossers.  At the time, Alejandro Mayorkas hailed the directive as one that would not initiate enforcement action for “a non-citizen’s unlawful presence in the United States” alone. 


Ohio, Arizona, and Montana’s Attorneys General all joined in suing the administration for its immigration enforcement directive.  Specifically, the Attorneys General of these three states argued that on matters of enforcement of the law and the allocation of resources, it is the legislative branch – and not the executive branch’s – responsibility to arbitrate on such matters.  Ohio Judge Michael J. Newman – a Trump appointee – ruled in favor of the states. 


Newman said in a statement explaining his decision to side with the states that, “at bottom, that is what this dispute is about: can the Executive displace clear congressional command in the name of resource allocation and enforcement goals?  Here, the answer is no.”  The Biden administration will likely look to appeal the decision, but in the meantime, Judge Newman’s order will likely stand. 


Under the Biden administration’s policies, ICE has reported a sharp decline in border apprehensions, indicating that more illegal immigrants are unlawfully entering the country.  As the Daily Slant previously reported, ICE data shows that in FY 2021, both border apprehensions and deportations dropped precipitously compared with previous years. 


FY 2021 saw 74,082 noncitizens arrested, a stark decline from the 103,603 and 143,099 reported in FY 2020 and FY 2019, respectively.  Similarly, deportations fell dramatically, reaching record lows in FY 2021.  During this time period, 59,011 noncitizens were removed from the country, down from 185,884 and 267,258 in FY 2020 and FY 2019, respectively. 


Republicans have frequently criticized the Biden administration’s seemingly brazen attempts to allow the illegal immigrant population to burgeon in the United States.  However, Tuesday’s court ruling gave Republican lawmakers a reason to celebrate.  Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost called the victory “a win for the rule of law and common sense immigration enforcement” in a Tweet.


Meanwhile, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich voiced his satisfaction with Judge Newman’s decision, saying in a Tweet: “VICTORY: A federal judge just blocked the lawless Biden Administration policy that halted nearly all deportations after our office challenged this guidance.  Our office has been at the forefront of the fights for the rule of law this past year.  Arizona deserves nothing less.”


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