Immigration reform held up in court
The Biden Administration has recently issued guidance around which undocumented immigrants law enforcement should prioritize for deportation. The administration has emphasized that undocumented immigrants who pose the greatest threat to public safety should be the first deported.
Despite its efforts to reform immigration enforcement, the Biden Administration finds an opponent in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. This contention has gone all the way to the Supreme Court, where the justices heard arguments from the two sides last week.
The key point of contention is whether law enforcement can use discretion in arresting undocumented immigrants who pose the greatest threat to public safety, or if they are required to arrest, detain and deport any undocumented immigrant they come across.
This is not the first time that Texas AG Paxton has worked to block the Presidential administration’s immigration guidance. In Texas, most of these court disputes appear in front of Trump-appointed circuit court judges, and ultimately some cases go all the way up to the Supreme Court.
The current Supreme Court, made up of mostly conservative justices, has been vocal in their skepticism of Biden Administration policies. Historically, the President has been granted discretion by the Supreme Court to deal with immigration matters. This appears to be changing in today’s polarized government power structure as a conservative court has issued decisions that attempt to crack down on Biden’s executive powers.
While the conservative majority may not agree with Biden policy decisions, they do agree that the resources and funding it would take to track down, detain and deport all undocumented immigrants is beyond the scope of the current budget – the justices have said as much.
At this point, the justices have not made a decision. The impact this decision could have on day-to-day immigration enforcement is uncertain.
Stay tuned here on our BOILA blog for an update on this Supreme Court decision!