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Biden deportation freeze blocked by judge

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s move to freeze deportations of illegal immigrants for the next 100-days.

The 14-day restraining order issued by Texas judge Drew Tipton follows a legal challenge by the state’s attorney general Ken Paxton.

In the complaint filed with US District Court, Mr Paxton sought the restraining order against a Department of Homeland Security directive placing a halt to deportations on non-citizens who entered the country before November 2020.

In his complaint, Mr Paxton said the directive violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which required that the department seek input from Texas.

The Biden administration argued in court filings that the agreement is unenforceable because “an outgoing administration cannot contract away that power for an incoming administration”, according to The Associated Press. In their argument, Mr Paxton’s office submitted a Fox News opinion article as evidence that “refusal to remove illegal aliens is directly leading to the immediate release of additional illegal aliens in Texas”.

The 100-day freeze was ordered to begin from 22 January for any “non-citizens”, the Biden administrations new nomenclature for “illegal aliens”, with exceptions for suspected terrorists or spies, or who was not present in the United States before November 1, 2020.

“In one of its first of dozens of steps that harm Texas and the nation as a whole, the Biden administration directed DHS to violate federal immigration law and breach an agreement to consult and cooperate with Texas on that law,” Mr Paxton said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

“Our state defends the largest section of the southern border in the nation. Failure to properly enforce the law will directly and immediately endanger our citizens and law enforcement personnel.”

On his first day in office, Joe Biden signed six executive orders related to immigration while the Department of Homeland Security announced a 100-day moratorium on deportations of illegal immigrants in facing removal from the United States.

The administration also suspended the policy of having non-Mexican asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for court hearings in the US.

In announcing the deportation freeze, DHS’s acting secretary, David Pekoske, said the pause on certain removals would allow them to focus resources on where they are most needed.

“The United States faces significant operational challenges at the southwest border as it is confronting the most serious global public health crisis in a century,” the memo said.

“In light of those unique circumstances, the Department must surge resources to the border in order to ensure safe, legal and orderly processing, to rebuild fair and effective asylum procedures that respect human rights and due process, to adopt appropriate public health guidelines and protocols, and to prioritize responding to threats to national security, public safety, and border security.”


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