https://www.washingtonpost.com/immi...3e43f4-011f-11ec-ba7e-2cf966e88e93_story.html Federal judge in Texas blocks Biden’s efforts to limit immigration arrests A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Biden administration from limiting immigration arrests in the interior of the United States, striking another blow to Democrats’ efforts to curtail deportations. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, issued a nationwide preliminary injunction Thursday halting a pair of memos that directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize arresting national security threats and felons or gang members who pose a risk to public safety. The rules also subjected immigration agents to strict oversight if they wanted to arrest anyone outside of the new priorities. In his 160-page ruling, Tipton called the new priorities “suffocating” and said immigration arrests have declined sharply this year. Many lesser criminals who might have been taken into immigration custody under the Trump administration are now being released into U.S. communities, the judge wrote, and many reoffend. He said the new priorities also likely violate federal law calling for the arrest of unauthorized immigrants, especially those who commit crimes. “Although this case involves many issues of administrative and immigration law, its core concerns whether the Executive Branch may implement a policy that directly conflicts with laws that Congress enacted,” Tipton wrote of the memos issued in January and February outlining the Biden administration’s new priorities. “The answer is no.” Republicans celebrated Tipton’s ruling, saying they have been seeking a return to Trump-era policies when any of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States could be subject to arrest and deportation for violating civil immigration laws. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed the lawsuit over ICE arrests in April in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas, which is in the conservative-leaning 5th Circuit. Both states are home to immigrant detention centers, and both officials backed Trump. Paxton was involved in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. “Another Texas victory against Biden,” Paxton said in a tweet Thursday. “So far we are 4-0 against Biden & the Dems effort to break immigration laws. We must secure our border NOW!” The immediate practical impact of Tipton’s ruling is unclear. ICE detention facilities have limited space because of funding, coronavirus restrictions, and an influx of new migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, where apprehensions are the highest in 21 years. The Department of Homeland Security, which issued the first memo limiting immigration arrests on the day Biden took office, and ICE, which released an updated directive on Feb. 18, had no comment Thursday. DHS officials have said the guidelines are preliminary and they are writing a final version. The Justice Department did not say whether it plans to appeal. The Biden administration, which has nominated Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris County, which includes Houston, to run ICE, has argued that the agency has always prioritized arresting criminals inside the United States. They said the new guidelines simply ensured that officers focused on the most dangerous offenders, instead of also sweeping up minor offenders such as traffic violators as they had in the past. The ruling marked another immigration-related legal defeat for the Biden administration in Texas federal lawsuits, all involving Paxton. In January, Tipton blocked Biden from pausing deportations for 100 days while he reviewed immigration policies. In July, Judge Andrew Hanen, a President George W. Bush appointee, barred the administration from expanding an Obama-era program for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, another Trump appointee, this month ordered the administration to restart a Trump program that required migrants to await their U.S. asylum hearings in Mexico, though it is unclear whether Mexico would agree.