HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge late Tuesday indefinitely banned President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a 100-day moratorium on most deportations.
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a preliminary injunction sought by Texas, which argued the moratorium violated federal law and risked imposing additional costs on the state.
Biden proposed the 100-day pause on deportations during his campaign as part of a larger review of immigration enforcement and an attempt to reverse the priorities of former President Donald Trump. Biden has proposed a sweeping immigration bill that would allow the legalization of an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. He has also instituted other guidelines on whom immigration and border agents should target for enforcement.
Tipton, a Trump appointee, initially ruled on Jan. 26 that the moratorium violated federal law on administrative procedure and that the U.S. failed to show why a deportation pause was justified. A temporary restraining order the judge issued was set to expire Tuesday.
Tipton’s ruling did not require deportations to resume at their previous pace. Even without a moratorium, immigration agencies have wide latitude in enforcing removals and processing cases.
But in the days that followed his ruling, authorities deported hundreds of people to Jamaica, Haiti and Central America. Haitians specifically have been deported at an alarming rate.
In early February, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and the Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees said that, since February 1, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has deported roughly 300 Haitians.
Jamaican-American Congresswoman Yvette Clarke has called on the acting director of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, Tae Johnson, to immediately stop the “targeted” deportations of Haitians.
“As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, I can confidently say, our immigration system is broken,” she said.
“The targeted deportation to Haiti illustrates the violence exacted on immigrant communities – particularly immigrant communities of colour.
It is not yet clear if the Biden administration will appeal Tipton’s latest ruling. The Justice Department did not seek a stay of Tipton’s earlier temporary restraining order.