Biden US immigration directive blocked by federal judge

Support migrant centric journalism today and donate

A federal judge has thrown out a Biden US immigration directive that would have narrowed who can be targeted by US immigration agents for arrest and deportation. The federal judge sided with the states of Louisiana and Texas, which had challenged the policy proposed by the Biden administration.


The directive, which had been finalized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a memorandum last September, instructed agents to focus on immigrants deemed to be a national security threat or a threat to public safety. The policy also sought to target those who had recently crossed the US southern border with Mexico.

The policy gave US immigration and border agents the discretion to spare migrants who have lived in the United States for a long time, the elderly, minors or those whose family members might be adversely affected by deportation, from any kind of US immigration enforcement. 


Other factors

Other factors to be considered under the directive include military service or an immediate family member who has been a victim of crime. The directive was introduced as part of plans to shift the focus in US immigration enforcement priorities and reverse the hardline deportation policies implemented by former US President, Donald Trump.

However, in yet another Biden defeat in the federal courts, US District Judge Drew Tipton in Corpus Christi, Texas, a Trump appointee, ruled that the DHS memo circulated last September was  ‘arbitrary and capricious’, and a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

In a 96-page opinion, Tipton sided with the states of Louisiana and Texas saying that they had ‘largely proven their case against Biden’s new US immigration enforcement policy’.

Previously, Tipton blocked a 100-day moratorium that the DHS had placed on most deportations on Biden’s first day in office in January 2021.


Earlier DHS memo

An earlier, more robust version of the DHS enforcement memo, which required US immigration agents to get advance approval from a senior manager before arresting someone who did not meet specific criteria for deportation, was also blocked by a federal court.

The terms of both the DHS memos differed significantly from the Trump administration’s policy, but with several Trump appointed judges occupying federal court positions, Biden is finding it tough to pass new, less stringent directives. 

Under Trump US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were given powers to pursue low-level offenders and non-criminals, plus people with long ties to the US.

Tae Johnson, ICE director for the Biden administration, defended the new policy as an ‘effort to prioritize limited law enforcement resources ‘to achieve the greatest security and safety impact’.


Fewer immigrants arrested and deported

Biden’s more lenient approach to immigration has resulted in fewer arrests and deportations. In fact, the arrest and deportation of immigrants living illegally in the United States plummeted in 2021 compared to 2020.

Meanwhile, the number of immigrants detained who had been convicted of serious crimes, rose sharply over the same period, according to ICE data released in March. can help with US employment-based visas

If you would like to apply for a US work visa – including L1 visasE2 visasO1 visas and H1B visas - can help. is a specialist visa services firm with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Contact us for further details. You can also telephone 0344 991 9222.