Supreme Court bans Biden lax immigration order, ruling Trump-era policy will stand

by mcardinal

Lauren Moye, FISM News


The Supreme Court declined yesterday to allow the Biden administration to use limited targeting when apprehending and deporting illegal immigrants while court litigation continues. The ruling signals another victory against lax border patrol policies instituted by President Joe Biden.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court justices voted 5-to-4 to allow a lower judge’s order to stand that bans the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from only enforcing deportation for some illegal immigrants while ignoring others, including some with pre-existing criminal records.

The decision forces the DHS to abide by Trump-era immigration laws which called for the deportation of the vast majority of illegal immigrants, as the lower court had ruled Biden administration, which only deported illegal immigrants who posed an “egregious threats to public safety” illegal. 

Justice Amy Coney Barret sided against the other well-known conservative justices in the 5-4 votes, joining Justices Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan in an opinion that a stay should be granted against the lower court’s order, allowing Biden’s policies to be reinstated until a full decision was reached.

The justices, however, approved to fast-track oral arguments on the case following a suggestion by the Solicitor General to consider the application as a petition for certiorari.

Accordingly, “the case will be set for argument in the first week of the December 2022 argument session.”

The parties concerned have been directed to prepare arguments to answer if the involved states have legal standing to challenge the DHS directive and whether the guidance was in violation of key federal laws. 

The policy in question was instituted in September 2021 by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas through a directive to border patrol agents. The guidance advocated for agents to use a loose evaluation of immigrants before taking enforcement action, allowing some immigrants with criminal records to stay in the country. The Biden administration said this would focus department resources on the most dangerous of criminals, taking a strain off the department’s limited resources. The memo states that the fact that an immigrant is “a removable noncitizen” should not be the only criteria that is used to open an “enforcement action” which includes deportation.

The discretionary directive outlined in the memo allows for border patrol to ignore existing criminal records. According to the lower court’s ruling, it also ignored the federal laws currently in place which govern how illegal immigrants are to be processed. 

Mayorkas has defended the policy as necessary for “national security, public security, and border security.”

The decision was initiated by Louisiana and Texas, who sued the federal government for violation of the Administrative Procedure Act saying that the directive burdened the states to deal with the crisis that the federal government had caused. 

“It would be particularly troubling to allow applicants a free pass to ignore Congress’s commands under current circumstances because the facts show the problem is, at least in part, self-inflicted,” the lawsuit stated. 

Texas Federal Judge Drew Tipton ruled in favor of the states on June 10. In his ruling, Tipton placed a stay on his order, which expired on June 25 before the federal government could complete an appeal. In the aftermath of this expiration, the DHS signaled they would widen their arrest prioritizations to comply with Tipton’s order.

On July 6, a New Orleans appellate court refused to block the order, leading to the appeal before the Supreme Court.