Court Blocks New Guidelines to Limit ICE
The Biden administration put new guidelines into effect in September 2021 to narrow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforcement priorities, ICE agents to focus limited resources on top priority threats. A federal court temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s new ICE guidelines on March 22. 3 Republican states sued the administration, arguing that the guidance ‘violated immigration laws passed by Congress and that it violated the Administrative Procedures Act by not engaging in notice-and-comment rule making.’
Judge Michael Newman denied DHS’ motion to dismiss the case:
“The States sue because they believe DHS skirting Congress’ immigration enforcement mandates when it issued a policy that prioritizes certain high-risk noncitizens for apprehension and removal. DHS contends that seemingly mandatory statutes must be read flexibly to permit efficient law enforcement.”
At bottom, this 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.
When DHS pulls back immigration enforcement, the States pick up some of the cost.”
The new ICE guidelines instruct ICE officers to focus on three categories of undocumented immigrants for arrest and deportation:
1. recent border crossers
2. aggravated felons
3. national security threats
Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said about the September guidelines that the administration has “fundamentally changed immigration enforcement in the interior: ”
“For the first time ever, our policy explicitly states that a non-citizen’s unlawful presence in the United States will not, by itself, be a basis for the initiation of an enforcement action,”
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