Politico

Biden dealt blow on 100-day deportation moratorium


A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a 100-day moratorium on most deportations, delivering an initial blow for President Joe Biden on one of his core campaign promises.

U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a temporary restraining order that halts the moratorium that the Biden administration announced on its first day. It comes after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last week filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the 100-day pause, which was announced in a memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security.

“The January 20 Memorandum not only fails to consider potential policies more limited in scope and time, but it also fails to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations,” Tipton said in the ruling.

The order represents the first notable setback to Biden’s immigration agenda, which is largely focused on undoing the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policies and securing an overhaul to the U.S. immigration system that former President Barack Obama failed to do.


The 100-day pause went into effect on Friday. Biden, while campaigning, had promised he would put a stop to deportations for 100 days, a move that was welcomed by immigrant advocates looking to see if he was serious about making immigration reform a priority.

In the lawsuit, Paxton argued that the moratorium violated federal law and agreements that DHS signed with Texas and several other states that would require the department to provide notice and allow time for a review before making certain immigration policy changes. The agreements, signed on the final days of the Trump administration, were first reported by Buzzfeed News.

However, Tipton’s order specified that the decision was not based on that agreement between DHS and Texas. “The issues implicated by that Agreement are of such gravity and constitutional import that they require further development of the record and briefing prior to addressing the merits,” the ruling explains.

But Tipton, according to the order, found that Texas was able to prove that the pause “establishes a substantial risk of imminent and irreparable harm to Texas.” He added that Texas was able to demonstrate “a substantial likelihood of success” in its claim that the moratorium violates federal law.

In its memorandum, DHS explained that it would implement a 100-day pause on certain removals “to enable focusing the Department’s resources where they are most needed.” The department also noted the “unique circumstances” the U.S. is facing along the southern border given the pandemic.

The Justice and Homeland Security departments did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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