Barely a month into Joe Biden’s presidency, a federal judge has already indefinitely struck down one of his signature campaign promises.
Late Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton ordered a preliminary injunction against the Biden administration, banning them from carrying out a 100-day freeze on illegal immigrant deportations.
Biden had tried to halt nearly all deportations on his first day in office—signing an executive order within hours of his inauguration—but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the administration, arguing the action was “unlawful and perilous.”
“The [Department of Homeland Security] has previously acknowledged that such a freeze on deportations will cause concrete injuries to Texas,” Paxton said in January, adding in a separate press release that “a near-complete suspension of deportations would only serve to endanger Texans and undermine federal law.”
After the lawsuit was filed in late January, Judge Tipton issued a temporary restraining order to briefly stop the administration, but as that was set to expire Tuesday, he ordered the more indefinite preliminary injunction.
In his 105-page ruling, Tipton described how the administration did not explain any rationale for enacting the “blanket 100-day pause which is contrary to law” and that “there is no indication that DHS went through the factors that Congress intended it to consider in its decisionmaking process.”
He called their attempted arguments “unavailing” and “without merit.”
“[T]he core failure of DHS lies not in the brevity of the January 20 Memorandum or the corresponding administrative record, but instead in its omission of a rational explanation grounded in the facts reviewed and the factors considered,” Tipton wrote. “This failure is fatal, as this defect essentially makes DHS’s determination to institute a 100-day pause on deportations an arbitrary and capricious choice.”
Tipton also said the unlawful pause “will lead to a significant number of criminal aliens moving freely within and into Texas who otherwise would have been removed.”
“[T]he Court concludes that the potential harms to Texas stemming from the 100-day pause outweigh any potential harms to the Defendants, and the public interest is served by the injunction,” Tipton added.
The ruling deals an early blow to Biden, who has thus far signed a slew of executive orders in an attempt to reverse numerous Trump policies. Among other actions, Biden has promised to remove Trump’s increased protections for preborn babies, force citizens to pay for abortions with tax dollars, and has proposed legalizing an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S.
Meanwhile, AG Paxton took to social media to celebrate Tipton’s decision on Wednesday.
“HUGE WIN. The first of many against Biden’s unlawful agenda,” Paxton tweeted. “My team & I have fought tirelessly for TX, and we’ve built a [national] coalition to stop Dems’ unconstitutional actions. The media’s ridiculous stories won’t stop my work. I’ll [continue] to press on for freedom & for TX.”
The Biden administration’s Justice Department did not try to stop Tipton’s temporary restraining order in January, nor is it immediately clear if they will now try to appeal the judge’s latest order.
“This preliminary injunction is granted on a nationwide basis and prohibits enforcement and implementation of the [100-day pause] in every place Defendants have jurisdiction to enforce and implement the January 20 Memorandum.”