This week, a federal judge in Texas blocked a Biden administration decision to halt deportations of undocumented immigrants for 100 days.
Fatma Marouf, professor of law and director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at Texas A&M School of Law, told Texas Standard that the decision is a roadblock to the Biden administration’s effort to undo many of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. The decision halts the ban on deportations indefinitely.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the effort to stop the moratorium. His office argued that keeping undocumented migrants in the country is too costly to Texas – costly to the detention system, costly to the education system and that it could also lead to an increase in crime. Marouf says Paxton’s evidence for some of those claims was thin.
The debate over the moratorium could be moot if it’s tied up in court for too long. Marouf says the case most likely won’t be decided before the first 100 days of the Biden administration are over.
But Biden has other means to pursue changes to immigration policy – means that likely wouldn’t involve as much intervention by the courts.
“The president and Congress have a lot of power over immigration that the federal courts can’t really affect. So things like enforcement priorities that President Biden has set would be really difficult to challenge in court and have not been challenged by Texas or anyone else,” Marouf said. “There’s still a lot of ground for the Biden administration to make changes.”
She says Biden’s plan for dealing with unauthorized immigration is far less sweeping than that of the Trump administration, and focuses mainly on “the most serious offenders.”