A new lawsuit is targeting the Biden administration’s decision to reduce the number of illegal aliens detained over “minor offenses.”
A group of sheriffs and active Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents sued the Democratic administration for preventing them from detaining and deporting “certain illegal aliens”. They claim the new requirements put in place by the Administration “are unlawful and unconstitutional.”
“The relief we seek is for the Court to order ICE and the Department of Homeland Security to simply follow the law,” said lead attorney Kris Kobach after filing the lawsuit in federal court in Galveston on July 1.
They claim that a February 18 Memorandum directs ICE officers to “follow the specific laws that require them to detain and deport certain illegal aliens.”
Texas sheriffs who joined the lawsuit allege that they “can no longer present illegal aliens arrested for criminal activity to ICE for deportation.”
The lawsuit alleges that “many extremely dangerous illegal aliens who would have been detained prior to the February 18 Memorandum are now not being detained—against the wishes of the ICE officers seeking to detain them, and in violation of federal statutes requiring their detention and/or removal.”
Under the immigration law, anyone in the country without lawful status can be deported, but under the Biden-Harris administration this is not enforced and instead priorities were set on who can and cannot be detained.
For the Democratic administration, if an illegal immigrant has only committed “minor offenses,” he or she does not deserve to be deported or detained, unless he or she meets the new guidelines of having recently entered the country.
Last February 18, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ordered ICE officers to focus on only three priority groups of illegal aliens, including those considered threats to national security, such as known or suspected terrorists; those who crossed the border illegally after November 1, 2020; and those who are considered a threat to public safety convicted of aggravated felonies or gang members.
The lawsuit describes several cases provided through affidavit by ICE agents who were forced to release illegal alien offenders into the community.
Part of ICE’s job is to track and remove the 672,000 fugitives who have been ordered detained by a federal immigration judge but are still in the United States.
But the new DHS directive says ICE agents must first obtain authorization from supervisors if they encounter illegal immigrants who are not convicted criminals during operations.
Now that ICE is not making it a priority to detain migrants with minor offenses, a record low of 2,962 deportations was recorded in April, compared to an average of 8,634 deportations of illegal immigrants per month during 202 fiscal year.
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The agents’ lawsuit outlines a case in which ICE officials sought approval to arrest a twice-deported illegal alien who had also been convicted of sexual assault against a child. ICE management denied the request and had to release him.
Another case recounted in the lawsuit involved local police initiating the arrest of a twice-deported illegal alien for selling heroin. However, officers failed to obtain approval to detain him and were forced to release him.
The lawsuit argues that ICE officers are forced to choose between following the February 18 Memorandum or following federal law.