The Justice Department filed an appeal Friday a day after a federal judge delivered a withering blow to the Biden administration’s anti-deportation policy, ruling the attempt to limit who can be arrested or deported flies in the face of federal law.
Government lawyers asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to step in and preserve the policy, which has dramatically cut the number of people ICE is arresting. President Biden had promised immigrant-rights activists he would curtail ICE’s activities, and the new ruling threatens his ability to deliver.
Judge Drew Tipton ruled that Homeland Security cut too many corners in developing the new Biden restrictions. And he said the limits also contradict federal law, which says authorities “shall” take, detain and try to deport illegal immigrants with certain criminal records.
He sided with Texas and Louisiana, which had sued to block the deportation rules. His preliminary injunction effectively unshackles officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and allows them to again expand the aperture of migrants they can target.
“The court saw the blatant irresponsibility from the Biden administration that has caused tremendous harm to the safety of all Texans,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “It’s time for the federal government to wake up and address the chaos that they caused — and in the meanwhile, we will fight tooth and nail to protect Texans from their carelessness.”
The 5th Circuit is likely to be tough sledding for the Biden team. It is arguably the most conservative federal appeals court and has been the site of some major rulings that backed stricter interpretations of immigration law.