President Joe Biden started dismantling former President Donald Trump’s immigration policy using a flurry of executive orders on his first day in office. He’s continued whittling away at his predecessor’s legacy regarding illegal migrants, but the US Supreme Court recently refused to reinstate the Biden administration’s latest enforcement guidance.
On July 21, the nation’s highest court agreed to hear a challenge by the Texas Attorney General’s Office to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new Guidelines for Enforcement of Civil Law. The court also declined to issue a stay issued by a lower court, striking down the policy.
The justices voted 5 to 4 to grant certiorari in United States et al. v. Texas, et al., 22-58. However, conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett sided with liberal justices Ketanji Brown Jackson, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor in indicating they would have granted the request to put enforcement of the district court’s order on hold.
The dispute centers around a September 2021 memorandum sent by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director. The seven-page memo directed ICE officials to exercise prosecutorial discretion and prioritize the apprehension and deportation of some migrants over others.
Texas argued the DHS policy caused it to suffer financial harm since it resulted in state prisons having to warehouse illegal immigrants longer than they otherwise would have, violating several federal laws and the Administrative Procedure Act.
The court scheduled oral arguments for the first week of December. Court watchers don’t expect the SCOTUS to issue a ruling until sometime in 2023.