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Major legal setback for Biden halt to deportation orders for illegal immigrants

Texas court win strikes blow against immigration policy imposed by executive fiat.

Updated: May 23, 2021 - 10:43pm

The state of Texas won its first lawsuit Thursday against the Biden administration over the president's executive order directing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to halt for 100 days deportations of immigrants who entered the country illegally. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued, and the 100-day pause was enjoined by a federal judge.

Because the 100-day period in question has expired, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Southern Division dismissed the case. DHS said in a statement that it "does not intend to extend or reinstate a policy requiring a pause on the execution of final orders of removal for any noncitizens."

"This is a big win for Texas and the nation," Paxton said in response. "It sends a clear message to the Biden Administration that they will not be able to violate federal immigration law and endanger the lives of Texans. This Administration's failed policies have only exacerbated the crisis at our southern border, and further exhausted the regular duties of our law enforcement officers."

Under President Joe Biden, ICE carried out the lowest number of monthly deportations on record in April, while illegal border crossings reached a 20-year high.

ICE deported 2,962 people in April, the first time deportations fell below 3,000, according to the Washington Post. April deportations were down 20% compared to March, .

In March, the Department of Homeland Security revised its deportation guidelines to no longer deport illegal immigrants convicted of fraud, assault, money laundering and drunk driving.

"The priority for the enforcement of immigration laws will be on those who are posing a national security threat, of course, a public safety threat, and new arrivals," White House Press secretary Jen Psaki said in February. "Nobody is saying that DUIs or assaults are acceptable behavior, and those arrested for such activities should be tried and sentenced as appropriate by local law enforcement, but we're talking about prioritization of who should be deported from the country."

Biden nominated Democratic Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to be the next director of ICE. Gonzalez made national headlines in 2019 for openly opposing former President Donald Trump's immigration and deportation policies.

Two years prior, Gonzalez ended Harris County's participation in a program that facilitated cooperation between county law enforcement officials and federal immigration authorities. Many criticized the move, arguing Gonzalez had turned Harris County into a "sanctuary city" for immigrants in the country illegally.

Doing so resulted in more crime, critics argue, and now Houston — and Texas — have seen even more increased crime resulting from Biden's immigration policies, Gov. Greg Abbott and sources in law enforcement argue.

Since Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in early March, Texas DPS from March 4 through May 6, made more than 30,500 referrals to U.S. Border Patrol, in addition to the 178,622 people who illegally entered the U.S. who were apprehended by CBP in April, the highest one-month total in two decades.

Texas DPS also reported an 800% increase in the amount of fentanyl its officers confiscated after apprehending drug smugglers this April compared to last April.

Biden's border policies "have created an open season for human traffickers, for drug smugglers, for drug cartels and gangs," Abbott said.

Texas has filed as many as 10 lawsuits against the Biden administration since its term started in January.

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