Immigrants : Biden’s order spells doom for illegal communities
Biden's latest order follows a federal court ruling in Texas on illegal immigrants.
A greater sense of insecurity prevails among illegal immigrant communities after President Joe Biden suspended an earlier order that had focussed resources on the arrest and deportation of immigrants considered a threat to public safety and national security.
Biden’s latest order follows a federal court ruling in Texas on illegal immigrants.
According to media reports, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement on Saturday that it will abide by the decision issued this month, even though it “strongly disagrees” and is appealing against it.
Immigrant lawyers and experts hold that the suspension of Biden’s order will only sow fear among immigrant communities.
They were of the view that many immigrants living in the country illegally will now be afraid to leave their homes out of concern they’ll be detained, even if they’re otherwise law-abiding.
Steve Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University, said prioritising whom to arrest and deport is a necessity. “We simply don’t have enough Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to pick up and put into proceedings everyone who violates our immigration law,” Yale-Loehr said.
The Texas case centres around a memorandum Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, issued last September, directing immigration agencies to focus their enforcement efforts on those who represented a threat to national security or public safety or who recently entered the US illegally, the reports said.
The approach was a departure from President Donald Trump’s administration, when immigration agencies were given wide latitude on whom to arrest, detain and deport, prompting many immigrants without legal status to upend their daily routines to evade detection, such as avoiding driving or even taking sanctuary in churches and other places generally off limits to immigration authorities.
But on June 10, US District Judge Drew Tipton in southern Texas voided Mayorkas’ memo, siding with Republican state officials in Texas and Louisiana who argued the Biden administration did not have the authority to issue such a directive.
In response, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers will make enforcement decisions on “a case-by-case basis in a professional and responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement officials and in a way that best protects against the greatest threats to the homeland,” the Department of Homeland Security said in its statement last weekend.