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Limits Lifted on ICE Arrests Amid Confusion Over Migrant Detentions

A federal district court ruling invalidating a key part of the Biden administration's approach toward arrests of undocumented immigrants took effect over the weekend after the Justice Department failed to secure a reprieve from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, CBS News reports. The ruling blocks a September 2021 directive by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that shields unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before November 2020 from arrest and deportation if they had not committed serious crimes.


The suspension of Mayorkas' directive leaves deportation agents across the U.S. without official instructions on which immigrants they should detain. While the suspension of ICE's arrest prioritization scheme is unlikely to place the country's estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in immediate danger of being arrested, the absence of national standards could lead to inconsistent enforcement actions across the U.S., including arrests of immigrants whom agents were previously instructed not to detain, legal experts said. Republican officials in Texas and Louisiana had challenged the policy and earlier this month convinced U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton to set the policy aside on the grounds that the administration lacked the authority to issue it. Tipton, an appointee of Donald Trump, stayed his ruling to give the administration time to appeal, but the 5th Circuit did not respond to a temporary stay request before Tipton lifted his stay. In a statement to CBS News on Saturday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it "strongly" disagreed with Tipton's order, but that it was complying with it. "During the appeals process, ICE agents and officers will make enforcement decisions on a case-by-case basis in a professional and responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement officials and in a way that best protects against the greatest threats to the homeland," the department said.