A federal judge in Texas blocked guidance that limits who Immigration and Customs Enforcement should arrest or deport from the United States, marking a setback for the Biden administration, which had put those rules in place in January.
Texas and Louisiana had brought the lawsuit challenging the guidance earlier this year. Judge Drew Tipton of the Southern District of Texas found that the states demonstrated a “substantial likelihood that the policy concerning detention of certain aliens set forth in the Memoranda is arbitrary and capricious under the [the Administrative Procedure Act] and the Memoranda fail to comply with the APA’s notice and comment requirement.”
It’s the latest legal blow for the Biden administration’s immigration policies, which have faced a series of lawsuits brought by Texas. Last week, a different federal judge ordered the administration to revive a Trump-era border policy that required migrants to stay in Mexico until their US immigration court dates. The Justice Department appealed the ruling.
Tipton, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, has previously ruled against the Biden administration. Earlier this year, he blocked the pause on deportations set in motion shortly after President Joe Biden took office.
The case concerns a provision in immigration law that says undocumented immigrants who had committed crimes shall be taken into ICE custody after they are released. The Biden administration’s memo sought to prioritize ICE’s resources on detaining undocumented immigrants based on the nature of the crime they had committed.
Specifically, the January 20 interim ICE guidance curtailed enforcement measures, focusing more narrowly on immigrants who pose a national security, border security or public safety risk.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has previously said that he’s working with ICE on new enforcement guidelines, though they’ve not been released yet.
Tipton has ordered the Biden administration to submit by September 3 a court filing detailing with “specificity what guidance, protocols, or standards control the detention of these aliens in light of the fact that the Memoranda have been enjoined.”
He also ordered the administration to file monthly reports on immigrants who had been released from custody and were not immediately detained by ICE. Those reports, according to Tipton’s order, should include the immigrants’ last known address and the offenses they had committed, as well as why the decision was made not to immediately detain them and who made the decision.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.