Remember when Donald Trump kicked off his presidency by banning travel from certain parts of the world rife with terrorism – only to have it almost immediately struck down by a federal judge appointed by his predecessor, Barack Obama? Well, good news for anyone who appreciates a little symmetry in their history: On his very first day in office, Joe Biden ordered a deportation freeze for the first 100 days of his presidency – only to have it quickly thawed out by a federal judge appointed by Trump.
As Liberty Nation’s Kelli Ballard reported, Joe Biden planned on issuing his memorandum halting deportations well before being elected president. Sure enough, the Department of Homeland Security was notified on Inauguration Day that, effective January 22, there would be no deportations for 100 days, with the notable exceptions of any illegal alien not already here as of November 1, 2020, suspected of terrorism or espionage, or simply willing to waive the right to not be deported. Of course, while there may be some illegals deported because they weren’t here before that cutoff date or because they’re suspected of spying or plotting some attack, it seems rather unlikely that anyone who went through all the effort of getting into the U.S. would volunteer for deportation.
Missing from this list of people who can still be deported is anyone convicted of a violent crime while in the U.S. illegally. So, per the Biden administration’s immigration policy, someone guilty of the heinous crime of failing to enter the U.S. illegally before November 2020 is far more likely to be deported than a murderer, rapist, or child molester who made it in October or earlier.
Not So Fast!
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to sue DHS over the freeze should the agency follow through on Friday, January 22. They did, and so within 24 hours, Paxton made good on that promise. Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton – a Trump appointee who took the bench in June of 2020 – blocked Biden’s order for 14 days.
AG Paxton was thrilled. “Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Administration,” he tweeted. “AND WE WON. Within 6 days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze. *This* was a seditious left-wing insurrection. And my team and I stopped it.”
Not everyone was as stoked, of course. Kate Huddleston, an attorney for the ACLU of Texas, said that Paxton was trying to “force the Biden administration to follow Trump’s xenophobic policies.” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said the move was all about scoring “political points at the expense of millions of families at our southern border.”
In the end, it’s hard to say whether the 100-day freeze will stay or go. It has been shut down, temporarily, by a single federal judge in Texas. It will almost certainly make its way to the federal court of appeals soon, and it’s entirely possible the Supreme Court may have to decide the issue.
How’s That Crow?
Was the motivation behind the suit political? In some part, almost definitely. Paxton’s tweet certainly sounds like he’s boasting about the political win of being the first to successfully interfere with the Biden Administration. One might also surmise that it is entirely within the president’s authority to direct the federal agencies of the executive branch as he sees fit.
However, there are some sound arguments being made by those opposed to the deportation freeze. Paxton explained that the pause violates federal law and an agreement between Texas and DHS requiring federal officials to give 180 days of notice to Texas before changing immigration enforcement. Judge Tipton also pointed out, federal code requires that “when an alien is ordered removed, the Attorney General shall remove the alien from the United States within a period of 90 days.” While the president has the power to amend agency policy, no official has the authority to act contrary to the law regardless of presidential orders.
But even if this lawsuit were purely political, the Democrats have little room to complain. Throughout Trump’s presidency, the left relied on liberal judges appointed mostly by Presidents Clinton and Obama to thwart the work of the Trump administration whenever possible. All the folks who dedicated the last four years to obstructing the Trump administration at every opportunity and at all costs may now get a taste of their own medicine.
Read more from James Fite.