Victory! Court Slaps Down Deportation Ban

Press Releases

February 24, 2021

Agrees with IRLI, attorneys’ group that ban is unlawful and has devastating effects

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, in a major victory, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas granted the state of Texas’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the new administration’s 100-day moratorium on deporting aliens who—very often because of their criminal activity—are subject to a final order of removal. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA), a project of IRLI, had both filed friend-of-court briefs in the case.

In a thorough and lengthy opinion, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton agreed with IRLI’s arguments in its brief that the deportation ban is unlawful. The court held that, though the ban amounts to an administrative rule that controls what immigration enforcement agents may and may not do, it did not go through the notice-and-comment process required by law, and thus was void when issued. The court also held that the ban constitutes a blanket refusal by the administration to enforce the law requiring aliens unlawfully in the country to be deported, and thus is contrary to law, and that the ban was never rationally explained by the agency, and thus is arbitrary and capricious. The court deferred judgment on the argument that the ban violates the Constitution’s requirement on the President to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

The court also agreed with AUSA’s brief that the ban would have devastating effects, including increased crime. In this regard, the court cited statistics showing that tens of thousands of criminal aliens are deported each year, and that banning such deportations for 100 days would force Texas to increase its spending of public funds on law enforcement and incarceration.  

“With this deportation ban, the administration has run roughshod over the protections administrative law gives to the American people against arbitrary and irrational government actions,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “What the administration can never explain, and has never explained, is how this disastrous directive, which would send a wave of criminal aliens out onto the streets of Texas and the whole country, is even a rational policy, let alone the product of reasoned decision-making, as the law requires,” Wilcox continued. “We are pleased that the court struck the ban down in a notably solid opinion that should hold up on appeal, and halted this bizarre and sinister attempt to shutter our entire immigration law enforcement system.”

The case is Texas v. United States, No. 6:21-cv-0003 (S.D. Tex.).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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