A federal judge ruled Tuesday against the Biden administration’s attempt to halt certain Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportations.
The ruling comes in response to a joint lawsuit filed by Republican Attorneys General from multiple states, including Arizona’s Mark Brnovich, Ohio’s Dave Yost, and Montana’s Austin Knudsen, against the Biden administration over its rollbacks on some deportations of noncitizens.
“The States sue because they believe DHS skirted Congress’s immigration enforcement mandates when it issued a policy that prioritizes certain high-risk noncitizens for apprehension and removal,” Southern District of Ohio Judge Michael Newman noted in his order.
“DHS contends that seemingly mandatory statutes must be read flexibly to permit efficient law enforcement. At bottom, that is what this dispute is about: can the Executive displace clear congressional command in the name of resource allocation and enforcement goals? Here, the answer is no,” Newman added.
Newman denied the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) motion to dismiss and granted a preliminary injunction, preventing the enforcement and implementation of the civil immigration policies put forth by the administration.
Brnovich called the decision a “tremendous victory” in a statement first released to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Since assuming office, the Biden administration has undermined our immigration laws and our law enforcement agencies, while empowering dangerous cartels and criminals on both sides of the border,” he said. “I’m grateful for this ruling and for the partnership of Ohio and Montana as we work to reverse this catastrophic lawlessness.”
Knudsen echoed Brnovich’s sentiments in a statement to the DCNF, saying that he hopes the administration “will follow the court order and start following the law when it comes to deportations, particularly for those illegal aliens who have prior criminal convictions.”
DHS changed its civil immigration enforcement through a series of memos over the course of 2021, the first of which from DHS Acting Secretary David Pekoske in January 2021 instructed the department to review its immigration enforcement “policies and practices.” The agency also instructed officials to prioritize civil immigration enforcement measures on those posing risks to national security, border security, and public safety and implemented a 100-day pause on removals of noncitizens.
“It is estimated that there are more than 11 million undocumented or otherwise removable noncitizens in the United States,” Mayorkas wrote. “We do not have the resources to apprehend and seek the removal of every one of these noncitizens. Therefore, we need to exercise our discretion and determine whom to prioritize for immigration enforcement action.”
“The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” he added. “We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country’s well-being require it.”