New York Attorney General, Letitia James on Wednesday vowed to fight alongside the new Joe Biden administration in stopping deportations.
Tuesday night, a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary restraining order, in effect for two weeks, that blocked President Biden’s plan to pause the deportation of undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants for 100 days.
“As we continue to reel from a public health crisis that has affected every corner of this country, the last thing we should be doing is moving to deport more immigrants — many who are standing on the frontlines of the pandemic and delivering essential services to Americans nationwide,” James told Caribbean Life.
“These immigrants are delivering our packages, stocking our grocery shelves, providing us with health care, and so much more,” she added.
“I strongly support President Biden’s willingness to freeze these deportations as the administration reviews its policies, and I will continue to review the court order as I stand ready to take legal action,” the New York Attorney General affirmed. “I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our immigrant community.”
Last week, on the first day of the Biden Administration, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memo ordering a moratorium on the deportation of undocumented immigrants for 100 days, while a thorough review of the DHS’s polices took place.
Two days later, Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration, seeking to overturn the order.
According to CNN, Paxon’s complaint cited in part an agreement signed between the Department of Homeland Security and Texas in the waning days of the Trump presidency that required the department to consult the state before changing or modifying policies.
Judge Drew Tipton of the Southern District of Texas, however, said the temporary restraining order was appropriate under the Administrative Procedure Act.
Tipton blocked the Biden administration from executing its deportation pause for 14 days, CNN said.
“In light of the foregoing, the court finds that the threat of injury to Texas outweighs any potential harm to defendants and the public interest is served and protected by the issuance of this TRO (temporary restraining order),” Tipton wrote.
In applauding the ruling, Paxton said in a statement: “The court’s decision to stop the Biden administration from casting aside congressionally enacted immigration laws is a much-needed remedy for DHS’s unlawful action.
“A near-complete suspension of deportations would only serve to endanger Texans and undermine federal law,” he added.
Biden has promised to tear down many of Trump’s immigration policies in his first 100 days in office, during which Homeland Security would refocus its efforts, prioritizing threats to national security, public safety and border security, National Public Radio (NPR) said.
Jorge Loweree, policy director at the American Immigration Council, said the moratorium would give the Biden administration time to look at each detainee’s case individually, according to NPR.
“The moratorium indicated a very clear understanding of the impact the Trump administration has had on immigration over the last four years,” Loweree said. “Correcting that damage will take time.”
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said there are currently 14,195 people in immigration detention centers across the country.