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Texas judge blocks major DHS policy on illegal immigrants

San Antonio, TX – Another week, another setback for President Biden’s immigration policy overhaul and for all the illegal immigrants in the US.  A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy that limits who immigration authorities can arrest and deport, which is very bad news for undocumented immigrants seeking to start a new life in the Lone Star state. 

Federal Judge Drew Tipton, who is a judge on the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, sided with the states of Texas and Louisiana which claimed that the DHS guidance is preventing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from enforcing the law.

The guidance judge Tipton’s ruling refers to was outlined last year in a memo sent by DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas to ICE and other agencies. According to Mayorkas, being present in the country without authorization “should not alone be the basis” for arrest or removal. At the time, Mayorkas argued that “the majority of undocumented individuals … have contributed so significantly to our communities across the country for years. They include individuals who have worked on the front lines in the battle against COVID, teach our children, do the backbreaking farm work to help deliver food to our table.”

The new policy the Biden administration is trying to push is in sharp contrast with the Trump administration’s stance on illegal immigration. Under Trump, ICE agents were given free hand to detain anyone they encountered who was in the country illegally.

With this decision, Tipton, who was appointed by Trump, effectively keeps in place the policy set by Biden’s predecessor and ICE officers have free reign to arrest and deport all undocumented aliens they discover.

At the hearing, lawyers for the administration tried to defend the policy, arguing it represents a reasonable exercise of prosecutorial discretion and is the best way to make use of DHS’s limited resources. 

However, Tipton could not be swayed.

The Executive Branch may prioritize its resources. But it must do so within the bounds set by Congress. Using the words ‘discretion’ and ‘prioritization,’ the Executive Branch claims the authority to suspend statutory mandates. The law does not sanction this approach,” Tipton wrote. 

The administration has until the end of the week to appeal the decision, but this means going before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Eastern Louisiana and the chances of finding a more understanding judge there are slim.

How can illegal immigrants avoid deportation?

This leaves hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants at the mercy of the ICE. If you are caught during a raid or arrested for whatever offense and you are found to be in the country illegally, the ICE can place you in detention and start removal proceedings. If you or someone you love is in such a desperate situation, the only way you can help is by contacting an experienced San Antonio immigration lawyer. People sent before the Immigration Court do not have the right to a free attorney and without legal representation, they don’t have a fighting chance. Also, a lawyer may be able to get them out of the detention center where, as everyone knows, the conditions are truly horrible. 

A seasoned lawyer may be able to find a deportation defense that works. There are many ways an illegal immigrant can manage to stay in the US – by applying for adjustment of status or by seeking asylum, for instance. Also, even if the immigrant loses the first time, their lawyers can file an appeal. 

If you want to help an undocumented immigrant placed in removal proceedings, get in touch with a knowledgeable lawyer at the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen in San Antonio and let them help you stay in the US and obtain legal status. 

Contact info:

Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen

206 East Locust Street

San Antonio, TX 78212

Phone: (210) 769-3273

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