Texas Sheriffs Sue Biden Over ICE Restrictions, Plummeting Deportations

A coalition of Texas sheriffs sued the Biden administration last week for limiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ability to detain and deport illegal immigrants.

Sheriffs from Texas’ border counties of Kinney, Edwards, McMullen, and Hudspeth, as well as an ICE officers’ group, charged the administration of Democrat President Joe Biden with breaking federal immigration law by limiting ICE activities and operations in the area.

They argued that as Biden takes a “more humane” approach to immigration in the country, border states are having to suffer the brunt caused by the unprecedented tide of illegal immigrants seeking to cross to the US from either the Northern Triangle of Central America — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — or elsewhere. 

“As part of President Joe Biden’s pledge to take a more humane approach to immigration enforcement compared to the harsh policies of former President Donald Trump, the Biden administration issued a memo February 18 directing ICE to focus on deporting immigrants who are national security or terrorist threats, gang members, those who have been convicted of certain aggravated felonies and any that entered the country after November 1,” Courthouse News reports. 

“ICE officers who want to take into custody jailed immigrants falling outside those categories must first obtain approval from their bosses,” it added.

The lawsuit claims that the deportation dial back has instead increased their crime-response costs because immigrants who are released commit more crimes, and it “encourages additional criminal aliens” to enter the country illegally. 

The group also argued that Biden’s policy is preventing ICE officers from seizing illegal immigrants — and those accused of crimes such as human trafficking and drug smuggling — whose detention is mandated by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“Since the issuance of the February 18 Memorandum, ICE officers have been unable to take custody of, or issue detainer requests for, dangerous criminal aliens whose detention is mandated by the [Immigration and Nationality Act],” the lawsuit added.

“Specifically, detention is required for aliens who have committed or been convicted of numerous crimes other than aggravated felonies, such as: crimes of moral turpitude, crimes involving controlled substances, human trafficking, money laundering, and certain firearm offenses,” it said.

Biden “functionally abolished” ICE

The Washington Post reported in May that according to ICE officials, Biden had “functionally abolished” the agency by restricting its operations so much. 

“Under new Biden administration rules curtailing immigration enforcement, ICE carried out fewer than 3,000 deportations last month, the lowest level on record. The agency’s 6,000 officers currently average one arrest every two months,” the Post wrote that time.

“ICE under President Biden is an agency on probation. The new administration has rejected calls from some Democrats to eliminate the agency entirely, but Biden has placed ICE deportation officers on a leash so tight that some say their work is being functionally abolished,” it added, citing ICE officials.


Meanwhile, as ICE deportations continue to drop, the number of those illegally entering the country has soared under the Biden administration’s more lax immigration rules —  rolling back former President Trump’s more stringent border policies.

Vice President Kamala Harris was appointed by Biden in March to lead the administration’s response to the border issue. As the border situation persists, Harris has received harsh criticism from authorities in these border states.

“Border czar” Harris faces backlash

In May, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich called on Biden to remove Harris from her position as the administration’s “border czar” noting the VP’s “absolutely abysmal” leadership.

Brnovich wrote to Biden and argued that as the border crisis continued to escalate since January, “Harris has shown little interest” in responding to the issue.

“To date, her response to the border crisis has been absolutely abysmal, so I am requesting that she be replaced as your ‘border czar,’” Brnovich said in his May 12 letter.

 “We are not nearly 50 days into her appointment, and Vice President Harris has shown little interest in observing what is happening along the border and has failed to articulate any plan to deal with the devastating effects of this crisis,” he added.

The White House has, however, continued to blame the former administration of President Donald Trump for the ongoing border crisis, claiming that it was Trump’s policies that led to the spike in immigration — although the unprecedented number of illegal immigrants seeking to enter the country began after Biden won the election last year.


“After coming into office, our administration immediately jumped into action to address the influx of migrants at the border, something that began during and was exacerbated by the Trump administration,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on May 4 as she defended the Biden administration’s response to the ongoing crisis. 

Highest number in 20 years

Meanwhile, numbers show a different picture. 

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently reported that the number of undocumented migrants reaching the US-Mexico border has hit the highest level in more than 20 years in the latest sign that the humanitarian crisis facing the Biden administration is ongoing despite lack of coverage.

The CBP said it caught 180,034 migrants, mostly single adults, in May — the number slightly up from 178,854 in April and also higher than the 172,000 recorded in March. The agency noted that this was the biggest monthly total since April 2000 with increasing numbers coming from outside Central America including Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and even some from Africa.


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