President Joe Biden's administration cannot ignore federal law that says authorities must arrest, detain, and remove illegal aliens convicted of certain crimes and/or aliens who are ordered deported, an appeals court has ruled.
Federal law says the attorney general "shall take into custody," "shall detain," and "shall remove" illegal aliens convicted of certain crimes and aliens who are ordered deported. But the Biden administration has attempted to prevent the holding and removal of some illegal immigrants convicted of those crimes.
Mayorkas also said that immigration agents should not "rely on the fact of conviction ... alone" when deciding to take action against an alien.
That has led to a sharp drop in criminal aliens detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said. The memo and others like it has led to a spike in the rescinding of criminal detainers, or orders to local authorities to detain aliens, court documents show. One hundred and seventy aliens had detainers rescinded in Texas between Jan. 20, 2021, and Feb. 15, 2022, with at least 17 failing to comply with their parole conditions and four committing fresh crimes.
DHS is trying "to claim it acts within the bounds of federal law while practically disregarding that law," it added.
ResponseBiden "tried to throw out immigration law, saying DHS didn’t have to detain criminal illegals. The court now says he must," Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
“Had the administration won its stay, it would have gone on releasing criminal aliens while its appeal of the district court’s ruling wound through the courts,” added Dale Wilcox, executive director of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which filed a brief in the case. “We are pleased that didn’t happen, and applaud the Fifth Circuit for denying the administration the extra time it sought to violate the law and endanger Americans.”
The panel consisted of Judges Edith Jones, a Reagan appointee; Edith Clement, a George W. Bush appointee; and Kurt Engelhardt, a Trump appointee.
The Fifth Circuit panel said its divergence is explainable by the benefit of bench trial and precedent in other cases brought before the court. "Until there is a contrary ruling from the Supreme Court, we adhere to our precedent and the facts found by the district court," it said.