A federal judge in Texas has handed the Biden administration another defeat in its ongoing attempts to liberalize immigration policy.
In his June 10 ruling, Judge Drew Tipton struck down a rule issued in September by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to Immigration and Customs Enforcement that forbid agents from detaining or deporting illegal immigrants unless they had recently entered the U.S. or been identified as a potential threat to public safety or national security.
Texas and Louisiana had sued to overturn the rule, which they argued violated federal law. Tipton agreed, but stayed his ruling for a week to give the administration time to file an appeal of his decision.
A spokesperson for DHS told Fox News it was “considering next steps.”
Tipton reasoned that, while the federal government has “case-by-case discretion” to enforce immigration law regarding individual illegal aliens, it does not have the authority to make broader decisions about enforcing — or not enforcing — laws put in place by Congress regarding entire classes of people.
Under the Constitution, the executive branch is charged with carrying out and enforcing laws enacted by Congress. Authority is not given the executive branch to deny the will of Congress as codified in legislation.
The Biden administration’s argument “offers an implausible construction of federal law that flies in the face of the limitations imposed by Congress,” Tipton said.
Mayorkas made the administration’s intentions clear in an interview this year in which he trumpeted the progress ICE had already made, under the guidance of his memo, in reducing arrests and removals.
“We have fundamentally changed immigration enforcement in the interior. 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,” Mayorkas told CBS News in January.
“This is a profound shift away from the prior administration’s indiscriminate enforcement,” he added.
The numbers bear that out. Fox reported that in fiscal year 2019, under former President Donald Trump, ICE “arrested 143,099 illegal immigrants and deported 267,258.”
By comparison, two years later in FY 2021, arrests were cut almost in half under President Joe Biden to 74,082, and deportations fell by nearly 80 percent to 59,011.
The Biden administration argued, unsuccessfully, that the rule was needed to allow ICE to focus its finite resources on the most problematic cases and potential bad actors.
Fox noted that the Biden administration has lost numerous immigration-related cases. Courts have blocked the administration’s “proposed 100-day moratorium on deportations,” halted its attempt to end Title 42 and forced the re-implementation of the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols.
Officials in Louisiana and Texas celebrated the ruling.
“Judge Tipton confirmed what we have argued all along: law and order must prevail,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement. “The Biden Administration can no longer allow dangerous and violent criminal aliens to roam free in our communities.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton described the decision as a “massive defeat” for the Biden administration.
“He tried to throw out immigration law, saying DHS didn’t have to detain criminal illegals. The court now says he must,” Paxton tweeted.
BREAKING: I just dealt Biden another massive defeat in fed court. He tried to throw out immigration law, saying DHS didn’t have to detain criminal illegals. The court now says he must. I will always hold the line with the Dems and the rule of law. https://t.co/EfHXWBidAB
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) June 10, 2022
While the Biden administration has seven days to appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, NPR described its chances of success in that venue as “mixed at best.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.