Biden Administration Asks Supreme Court to Let It Keep Releasing Criminal Illegal Aliens

President Joe Biden’s administration on July 8 asked the Supreme Court to stay a lower court order that is preventing it from implementing guidance that narrows which illegal immigrants can be arrested and deported.

The ruling by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this week has forced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “halt all implementation of the Guidance that had been charting the agency’s course for months” and thousands of DHS workers “have been told that they must disregard their training and stop considering the Secretary’s instructions,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, a Biden appointee, told the court in an application for a stay.

The appeals court on Wednesday upheld a district judge’s ruling that found the guidance in question, promulgated in 2021 by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, doesn’t adhere to federal law that instructs the U.S. government to arrest, detain, and remove illegal aliens convicted of certain crimes.

U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee, ordered the government shortly after the guidance was issued not to implement it.

Mayorkas had told his agency not to take action against illegal immigrants solely due to a conviction, while also describing it as improper to move against an alien solely due to their being in the country illegally.

Mayorkas has claimed that the United States lacks the resources to take action against all illegal immigrants, which are estimated to number between 10.5 million and 22 million.

In a separate case concerning the same order, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year overturned a nationwide preliminary injunction against the order, Prelogar noted to the nation’s top court.

She said the Supreme Court should stay Tipton’s ruling in full, or at a minimum, in all states besides Texas and Louisiana, which brought the case that triggered the ruling.

“That judgment is thwarting the Secretary’s direction of the Department he leads and disrupting DHS’s efforts to focus its limited resources on the noncitizens who pose the gravest threat to national security, public safety, and the integrity of our Nation’s borders,” she said.

The Biden administration’s attempts to curtail enforcement against illegal immigrants and unprecedented numbers of aliens into the country have spawned a series of court battles. The case could force justices to address an issue they explicitly avoided when they recently said Biden could end the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program, which forced many asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their claims were heard.

In the majority opinion, justices said they “need not and do not decide whether the detention requirement” outlined in federal law “is subject to principles of law enforcement discretion, as the Government argues, or whether the Government’s current practices simply violate that provision.”

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.

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