A group of Texas sheriffs put Biden’s border Czar Kamala Harris on notice and filed a lawsuit accusing the Biden administration of stopping federal officials from arresting or deporting criminal illegal immigrants.
Five counties and five sheriff’s departments, along with ICE employees, filed a complaint in the federal court of the Southern District of Texas Thursday afternoon. The complaint alleges the decision by President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security officials has enticed criminals to illegally immigrate to the United States which in turn has hurt local law enforcement operations and communities.
“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,” said Kris Kobach, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “These are really serious criminals, and ICE is being ordered by the political leadership of the Biden administration to turn them loose.”
The 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 orders the lawsuit alleges that are “unlawful and unconstitutional”were issued in a Feb. 18 memorandum, instructed immigration officers to “refrain from placing aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States into removal proceedings.” According to the lawsuit, Biden’s policies have greatly contributed to the current border crisis. The lawsuit says:
On February 18, 2021, Acting Director of ICE Tae Johnson issued a Memorandum to all ICE employees entitled “Interim Guidance: Civil Immigration Enforcement Removal and Priorities,” The Memorandum instructs ICE officers to refrain from placing aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States (“illegal aliens”) into removal proceedings or from taking custody of such aliens unless they fall into very narrow categories of “cases that are presumed to be priorities.”
Those cases consist principally of illegal aliens who pose a national security or terrorist threat to the United States, have been convicted of an aggravated felony as defined by section 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ) (“INA”) (codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)), or have recently arrived in the United States unlawfully (defined as those aliens who enter or attempt to enter the United States on or after November 1, 2020).
According to the February 18 Memorandum, taking any enforcement action against illegal aliens falling outside of these narrow priority categories requires an ICE officer to obtain preapproval from a high-ranking field office director (“FOD”) or special agent in charge (“SAC”) before taking action.
The ICE officer must go through the time consuming and usually futile process of “rais[ing] a written justification through the chain of command, explaining why the action otherwise constitutes a justified allocation of limited resources, and identify the date, time, and location the enforcement action or removal is expected to take place.”
As a result of the February 18 Memorandum and its implementation, the number of arrests and removals by ICE has dropped precipitously, to levels one-third of what they were prior to the beginning of the Biden Administration. In April 2021, ICE carried out fewer than 3,000 arrests, the lowest number on record. ICE’s approximately 6,000 officers were reported to be averaging one arrest every two months. (WashingtonPost, “Biden administration reins in street-level enforcement by ICE as officials try to refocus agency mission,”
This compares to an average of 8,634 arrests per month by ICE in FY 2020. This standdown in ICE enforcement has fueled a crisis at the border and in other Texas counties, encouraging a massive surge in illegal immigration.
Monthly totals in apprehensions by Border Patrol agents are at levels not seen in over 21 years.
In March 2021, Border Patrol agents apprehended 173,337 aliens after they illegally entered the United States. In April 2021, the number was 178,854. And in May 2021, the number was a staggering 180,034 aliens. This compares to 21,593 during May 2020— or approximately eight times the previous year’s total.
Read the lawsuit here.
Texas sheriffs and ICE officers sue Biden for not deporting criminal illegal immigrants https://t.co/wywlV03ZMF— John E Brown, Jr. (@vantagerave) July 2, 2021
BREAKING: Represented by Trump ally Kris Kobach, four Texas sheriffs and counties and an ICE officers association sued the Biden administration in Galveston federal court today over a policy that dialed back deportations. @CourthouseNews pic.twitter.com/xhCF2hohtA— Cameron Langford (@cam_langford) July 1, 2021