A group of Texas sheriffs and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have filed suit against the Biden administration for refusing to deport criminal illegal aliens amid a worsening migrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The lawsuit was filed after ICE agents refused to take custody of and deport migrants in the U.S. illegally who were arrested by local authorities under a new Biden administration policy. Among those ICE refused to take was a man who had already been deported after a conviction for child sexual battery, the Washington Examiner reported.
Five sheriffs and five departments, as well as ICE staffers who belong to a national law enforcement group, filed their suit in the Southern District of Texas on Thursday. The complaint states that a policy enacted by President Joe Biden and the Department of Homeland Security is luring criminals to cross illegally back into the U.S., which is having a deleterious effect on law enforcement and communities alike.
“The ICE officers involved in this case are absolutely astounded at what their superiors are asking them to do: releasing people charged with rape of a child, releasing people charged with dealing drugs and resisting arrest,” Kris Kobach, a former Kansas attorney general and plaintiffs’ lead attorney in the case.
“These are really serious criminals, and ICE is being ordered by the political leadership of the Biden administration to turn them loose,” he added.
The policy in question was issued Feb. 18 by acting ICE Director Tae Johnson via memo which said that the agency would only take into custody those illegal migrants who are seen as threatening U.S. national security, public safety, or border security. Any others, the memo states, require prior authorization from ICE leadership.
Immigrants who are suspected or known terrorists, those who entered illegally before the 2020 presidential election, or anyone convicted of an aggravated felony or is a member of a criminal gang can be detained from local law enforcement without approval from an ICE supervisor.
But before that memo was issued, any illegal immigrants picked up by local sheriff’s departments may be turned over to ICE to face deportation proceedings before an immigration judge. After the memo was issued, sheriffs now have to simply release the immigrations back into communities instead of put them in the pipeline to be deported. In their lawsuit, they say that’s a violation of federal law which states that regardless of any criminal history, people in the country illegally are required to be detained while proceedings for removal are started.
“The Biden administration policy stands in direct violation of not one, but three, different federal statutes,” said Kobach, who leads the Kansas-based Alliance for Free Citizens.
“Congress has mandated that the executive branch must detain and remove certain illegal aliens, but the Biden Administration is ignoring the law,” he added in a statement.
“The administration’s actions have forced ICE to stand down and have almost brought deportations to a halt. That has fueled the crisis at the border, encouraging more illegal immigration. It has also created an unbearable burden for local law enforcement in Texas,” the former Kansas Republican AG added.
One illegal alien suspect who did not meet the public safety criteria for immediate release was a man who has been deported four times and has been convicted of evading arrest, multiple counts of driving under the influence, and domestic violence, the Washington Examiner noted.
Plaintiffs include “Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe, Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson, Montgomery County, Edwards County Sheriff J.W. Guthrie, Edwards County, McMullen County Sheriff Emmett Shelton, McMullen County, Hudspeth County Sheriff Arwin West, Hudspeth County, and the ICE officers division of the Federal Police Foundation,” the outlet reported.
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