You may have heard that that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be pausing deportations for certain noncitizens for 100 days. This directive was released in a larger memorandum directing the Department to conduct a review of immigration enforcement policies and practices, and a reallocation of resources to focus on boarder security, national security, and public safety. Part C of this memorandum calls for an “immediate 100-day pause on removals.” Planned to go into effect on January 22nd, this order pauses removals for noncitizens with a final order of removal.
Exceptions to the Deportation Moratorium
Though this memorandum places a pause on many deportation cases, there are still some situations in which a deportation may still be enacted. For example, if someone has engaged in or is suspected of terrorism or espionage, they may still be deported. Additionally, if someone was not present in the U.S. before November 1, 2020 or has voluntarily agreed to waive their rights to remain in the U.S, they may still be subject to deportation.
Deportation Moratorium Blocked by Federal Judge
A January 22nd press release from Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas, announced that Paxton had filed for a temporary restraining order on the Department of Homeland Security’s deportation moratorium. In this press release, Paxton alleges that the DHS has violated the U.S. Constitution, federal laws, and a contractual agreement regarding the enforcement of immigration law between the DHS and Texas. According to Paxton, this 100-day freeze on deportations will “seriously and irreparably harm Texas and its citizens.”
On January 26th, Paxton’s order was granted by Judge Drew Tipton. This temporarily blocks the deportation freeze for 14 days nationwide. According to Tipton, there is a likelihood that Texas will be successful in its move to block the deportation moratorium, citing a federal law that says authorities must remove noncitizens with final deportation orders within 90 days.
What Happens Next?
The outcome of this case will have a significant impact on thousands of people. Cited in an article on Reuters, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that there are approximately 1.2 million immigrants in the US with final orders of removal. And, as of January 16th, there were 6,000 people being held by ICE. It is expected that the Biden administration will appeal this ruling.
What to Do If You Are Facing Deportation
If you are dealing with a deportation case and have questions about how this situation impacts you, reach out to a trusted attorney experienced in handling deportation cases for guidance. Though it is not yet clear what the ultimate resolution will be, your lawyer can help you understand your own situation in relation to both the DHS memorandum and the temporary restraining order issued by Judge Tipton.