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Judge bans enforcement of Biden's 100-day deportation pause

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A woman shows immigration documents to US Customs and Border Protection officers at the US-Mexico border crossing on February 23, 2021 in Matamoros, Mexico. (AFP photo)

A US federal judge has indefinitely barred Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a 100-day moratorium on most deportations, dealing a further blow to the Democratic president’s key immigration priority.

US District Judge Drew Tipton late Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction sought by Texas, which said the moratorium was against federal law and that it risked imposing further costs on the state.

Biden had, during his campaign, pledged to enact the moratorium if elected, but that proposal contrasted sharply with the harsh immigration policies by his predecessor Donald Trump, a Republican.

On January 22, the US Department of Homeland Security began enforcing the new approach which applied to almost anyone who entered the country without authorization before November.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, however, filed a complaint on the same day, arguing the state would suffer irreparable harm if the deportation freeze was allowed.

In response to Paxton’s request, Tipton, a Trump appointee, issued a temporary restraining order a few days later, temporarily blocking the moratorium.

His temporary restraining order was set to expire on Tuesday.

The order represents a victory for Texas' Republican leaders, who often sought to stop programs enacted by former Democratic President Barack Obama.

Trump had suspended immigration to the United States. In 2016, he promised to build a wall on the US border with Mexico, and launched a crackdown on both legal and illegal entries into the country soon after he assumed office.

In line with the new administration’s approach to immigration, Democrats have unveiled legislation which aims to create a path to US citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally.

The president has also instituted other guidelines on whom immigration and border agents should target for enforcement.

However, despite his effort to reverse Trump’s immigration policies, the Biden administration has continued expelling immigrants under a separate process begun by the former president’s officials, who invoked public-health law due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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