It was reported by Newsmax that a federal judge in Ohio on Tuesday agreed with three Republican-led states and partially blocked a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directive that instructed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to prioritize certain groups of migrants for arrest and deportation.
Judge Michael Newman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled that a September 2021 memo issued by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas led ICE agents to violate laws mandating the detention of certain immigrants facing deportation because of criminal convictions, CBS News reported.
Newman’s decision was a victory for Arizona, Montana, and Ohio officials who filed a lawsuit against Mayorkas’ directive.
The judge’s injunction prohibits federal agents from relying on Mayorkas’ guidance to make “custody decisions” about migrants subject to mandatory detention. It also blocked the secretary’s memo from being used to release or delay the deportation of migrants with final orders of deportation.
Mayorkas’ directive ordered ICE agents to focus on arresting migrants found to pose a threat to national security or public safety, as well as migrants who recently crossed a U.S. border illegally.
However, the memo gave ICE more discretion to decide whether immigrants with criminal convictions threatened public safety. Agents were told to consider a set of factors such as the seriousness of the offense and prior arrests, and mitigating factors, including prior service in the military and the time the immigrant has lived in the U.S., CBS News said.
Newman, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, said Congress mandated the detention of migrants with certain criminal convictions and those with final orders of deportation.
The judge did recognize that Mayorkas’ “balancing analysis is acceptable at certain points in the removal process.”
“The Permanent Guidance displaces the custody and removal factors Congress intended DHS officials to consider for its extra-textual totality-of-the-circumstances analysis,” Newman wrote in a 79-page opinion, CBS News reported.
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The media outlet said the Justice Department could appeal the ruling.
The Biden administration’s immigration policies, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, have reduced migrant arrests and deportations. ICE made 74,082 arrests in fiscal year 2021 — a 28% drop from 2020 — and carried out an all-time low 59,011 deportations.