Court of Appeals Intervenes in Judge’s Ruling on ICE Protocols

Court of Appeals reverses judge's order regarding ICE protocols

Court of Appeals reverses judge’s order regarding ICE protocols

On Wednesday, September 15, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals halted a Texas federal judge’s order that blocked a series of parameters implemented by the Biden administration on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) protocols.

To understand the issue at hand, it is important to explain that ICE is one of the branches of DHS (Department of Homeland Security) in charge of enforcing immigration law both at the borders and within the US.

ICE usually conducts investigations and operations to locate, detain and deport immigrants who entered the country without legal documentation.

The Court of Appeals stated that the Texas judge’s decision to block the Biden administration’s discretion regarding who should be arrested and deported did not take into account DHS’s arguments in relation to ICE’s resources.

In fact, the Court of Appeals wrote in its ruling, “eliminating DHS’s ability to prioritize removals poses a number of practical problems given its limited resources.”

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Biden’s proposal on ICE proceedings

Now that we know the Court of Appeals decision, it is important to explain changes proposed by the Biden administration on ICE deportation protocols.

Initially, it is important to mention that the previous administration, led by former President Donald Trump, overly expanded the scenarios in which ICE had the power and right to locate and deport undocumented immigrants, which exponentially increased deportation levels between 2017 and early 2021.

Thus, when President Biden took office in January 2021, his administration proposed a series of changes to restructure and refocus deportation parameters in the US.

Let’s look at some important facts:

  • On January 20, when Biden became president, his administration issued a memorandum, asking DHS to review ICE’s detention and deportation protocols, as well as propose relevant changes in the interest of the new administration.
  • In mid-February, ICE issued another memorandum explaining a series of changes for its agents regarding procedures to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.
    Broadly speaking, the new protocols limited certain scenarios in which ICE could detain a high number of undocumented immigrants on a daily basis, specifying that the agency’s resources are quite limited.
  • In August, the Texas judge, who had previously intervened in Biden’s immigration plans, blocked the new deportation protocols proposed by DHS, stating that they are against the interest of the US, an argument contradicted by the Court of Appeals.

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