Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

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In a blow to the Biden Administration’s attempt to relax the enforcement of America’s immigration laws, a federal judge rejected the enforcement approach of DHS Secretary Mayorkas, . This policy had resulted, the judge found, in a significant limitation of ICE’s ability to perform its duty by limiting the aliens it could target for arrest and deportation.

A report by The Washington Times stated that the judge, Drew B. Tipton of the Southern District of Texas, held in his ruling that the federal government has a responsibility to “try to detain and deport immigrants without documentation who have significant criminal records or who have been ordered removed by an immigration judge.”

In his ruling, Judge Topton further stated that the evidence he reviewed in the case demonstrated that the policy spearheaded by Secretary Mayorkas resulted in releasing illegal aliens who, according to law, were required to be detained or deported or both. Among these aliens, many had serious offenses on their records linked to drug, firearm, and sexual battery charges. 

The ruling found that the while the legal issues involved were complicated, “the core of the dispute is whether the Executive Branch may require its officials to act in a manner that conflicts with a statutory mandate imposed by Congress.”

According to Judge Tipton, the answer to that question is: “It may not.” 

NumbersUSA is a leading nonpartisan immigration-reduction group founded by Roy Beck in response to two national commissions on immigration issues. One was a bipartisan congressional commission chaired by former Rep. Barbara Jordan, and another was a commission created under presidential authority and chaired by former Sen. Tim Wirth. Both commissions found that reducing immigration numbers towards their historical average was in the best interest of the United States and its authorized residents. 

Secretary Mayorkas specified the new rules about the categories of illegal aliens subject to being detained, arrested, or deported in a memo in September of last year. This led to the lawsuit which resulted in the federal judge ruling against Mayorkas’s attempt to hamper ICE’s ability to do its duty. In his memo, Mayorkas stated that the illegal presence of an individual in the country was no longer enough by itself to target an alien for enforcement activity by ICE. Instead, he specified that an illegal alien either must have recently crossed the border, be labeled a threat to national security, or been guilty of a serious felony offense. Only aliens meeting those criteria would be eligible for being arrested, detained, or deported. 

The report by the Washington Times revealed that illegal aliens who had multiple felonies, drug offenses, were involved in human trafficking, money laundering, or had weapons violations were not automatically subject to enforcement under Mayorkas’s system. Additionally, Judge Tipton said that migrants who had been issued a final deportation order by an immigration judge also weren’t automatically selected.

Roy Beck, who worked as a journalist covering politics in DC before becoming a policy analyst specializing in immigration and U.S. population issues, founded NumbersUSA to encourage government policies that benefit society by enabling the government to choose the optimal number of authorized immigrants to enter the country. NumbersUSA has more than eight million participants including conservatives, liberals and moderates. Its members are encouraged to lobby public officials to reduce immigration numbers toward traditional levels in order to help current and future generations enjoy a standard of living that isn’t diminished by excessive immigration. 

The impact of the approach to immigration enforcement resulting from Secretary Mayorkas’s memo was to drastically lower the number of criminals being detained or arrested, according to Judge Tipton. The judge also said that Mayorkas utilized deceptive language in an attempt to disguise the broad effects of his memo, citing terms such as “discretion” and “priorities.” Ultimately, the intention was nevertheless to mount an effort to pursue policies contrary to the letter of the law as written.

Another point made by Judge Tipton was that the immigration policy promulgated by Secretary Mayorkas resulted in ICE terminating a number of illegal alien detainers that the agency had issued prior to the Mayorkas memo. A detainer constitutes a federal request that state and local corrections facilities hold illegal aliens until such time as they can be transferred into the custody of ICE.

According to the state of Texas, 170 detainers have been cancelled from the date of Biden’s inauguration through February 15, 2022. With regard to those cancellations, the Washington Times report stated: “55 had serious drug offenses on their record, Judge Tipton said. And 17 of those whose detainers were canceled had already broken their terms of release, four committed new crimes and one is still at large.” 

Judge Tipton’s ruling revoked the policies stipulated in Secretary Mayorkas’s letter, while providing a hold of the order for five days to give the Biden Administration a chance to appeal.

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