As part of Joe Biden’s extreme open border policies, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been deliberately ignoring federal law to avoid deporting convicted criminal aliens.
According to a panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, this has led to a sharp drop in criminal aliens detained by DHS.
In a memorandum in September 2021 outlining new DHS guidance narrowing immigration enforcement priorities, Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said: “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen, therefore, should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.”
However, as the Appeals Court noted, federal law says the attorney general “shall take into custody,” “shall detain,” and “shall remove” illegal aliens convicted of certain crimes and aliens who are ordered deported.
The Epoch Times (ET) reported that Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement that Biden “tried to throw out immigration law, saying DHS didn’t have to detain criminal illegals. The court now says he must.”
ET added that:
The memo and others like it has led to a spike in the rescinding of criminal detainers, or orders to local authorities to detain aliens, court documents show. One hundred and seventy aliens had detainers rescinded in Texas between Jan. 20, 2021, and Feb. 15, 2022, with at least 17 failing to comply with their parole conditions and four committing fresh crimes.
“The data show that the Final Memo ‘increases the number of aliens with criminal convictions and aliens with final orders of removal released into the United States,’ and Texas has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the cost of that reality has fallen on it and will continue to do so,’” the panel said in a ruling dated July 6.
DHS is trying “to claim it acts within the bounds of federal law while practically disregarding that law,” it added.
The panel upheld an earlier ruling from U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee who said the policy had resulted in criminal aliens “roam[ing] free” and ordered the department not to follow the memo.
The Biden administration had appealed, arguing that the lower court order should be overturned because the states lack standing, because they have not suffered any injury, and because any injury that the speculative injury was not traceable to the Mayorkas memo. The appeals court panel disagreed.
Team Biden is expected to appeal this ruling as well, which could then send the case to the full Fifth Circuit or the Supreme Court.
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