The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a new memo on Thursday reversing restrictions on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removals that were implemented as part of a 100-day freeze on deportations.
Shortly after the Biden administration took office, DHS officials issued an order halting deportations of certain undocumented people for 100 days while the new administration conducted a review of the existing policies. The memo directed ICE to only deport undocumented people who were “suspected of terrorism or espionage,” who were not present in the US before November 1 or had waived their right to remain in the US.
But the policy didn’t last long. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued DHS just days after the order was released, seeking an injunction on the rules and claiming the order violated an agreement between Texas and the Trump administration made in the last days of his presidency. The agreement guaranteed Texas an opportunity to have at least 90 days’ notice of any change to immigration laws and a chance to comment on the proposed modifications.
Trump-appointed federal district court judge Drew Tipton granted Paxton’s request for a temporary restraining order. He said the DHS pause on deportations would cause “imminent and irreparable harm” to Texas by forcing the state to continue paying to provide public services for undocumented people. The new DHS guidance addresses the state’s concern by giving ICE much broader discretion and expanding parameters for permissible deportations.
In a statement criticizing the most recent DHS order, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that the new rules “use sweeping and overbroad presumptions of threat that have for decades resulted in biased profiling and harmful immigration consequences for Black and Brown people, including Muslims.”
DHS estimates that this interim policy will remain in place for about 90 days until DHS Secretary Mayorkas issues more permanent guidance.