The stop of mass deportations carried out by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency was undoubtedly Biden’s immigration policy that gave immigrants the most relief. A legal challenge against these new guidelines will go to trial this week in Houston.
For thousands of immigrants and their families, the changes brought to immigration policy by the Biden administration came as a huge relief. Under the previous government, many of them would have been deported to Mexico without even having an opportunity to apply for asylum or begin their immigration journey through USCIS.
But over the past year, Democrats have applied various legal mechanisms to stop most deportations and arrests carried out by federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Thanks to the new immigration policy, undocumented migrants who are not considered a danger to public safety and who contribute to the country’s economy with their work are no longer a priority for deportation.
According to the application guidelines written by Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of the DHS, living without legal documentation in the United States is no longer, by itself, sufficient reason to arrest or deport someone.
Stopping deportations: A Success Story for the Biden Administration
This immigration policy was highly successful and produced tangible changes for millions of immigrants who live and work across the country, who today can be confident that they will not be deported or detained overnight. Even when much of the government’s immigration agenda has been blocked by the Republican opposition, this measure guaranteed bare minimum living conditions for the migrant population.
Under the new DHS guidelines, immigration authorities must consider the “totality of the circumstances” of each case, including whether a migrant is caring for a family member or has a potential path to legal status. Some immigrant advocacy groups still complain that ICE is still investigating cases against people who should not be considered priorities for detention or deportation under the new immigration policy, while sectors of the opposition maintain that Biden is taking the discretionary deportation policy too far.
“Prosecutor discretion is supposed to be the exception, not the rule. This administration is using it as an excuse and as a rule to not enforce the law.”
Said Lora Ries, a former DHS official during the Trump administration and part of the Heritage Foundation.
Texas and Louisiana against the stop of deportations
Despite broad popular support for the measure, this policy is in danger of being blocked by the federal courts. A legal challenge to DHS’s discretionary enforcement of detainers will begin this week, pushed by the states of Texas and Louisiana.
Conservative sectors in Texas and other states protest the decrease in arrests and deportations carried out by ICE. They also argue that local jails have been forced to release undocumented immigrants who previously would have been detained by the federal agency.
Meanwhile, Mayorkas defends the new application priorities.
“We will not devote our limited resources to detaining people who have been in this country for many years, who have been contributing members of our communities.”
He testified in a speech last month before the United States Conference of Mayors.
The secretary of the DHS insists that ICE now has the ability to focus on real threats to public and national security, exercising what is known as prosecutorial discretion in deciding which cases are worth investigating and which are not.
The legal challenge from Texas and Louisiana is scheduled to go to trial this week in Houston. He will be heard by federal Judge Drew Tipton, who was appointed as a judge by former President Donald Trump. Tipton has tried to block immigration policy implemented by the DHS before.
If you are in need of immigration legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at (281) 606-0800!
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