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Supreme Court Upholds the Biden Administration’s Immigration Guidelines

On June 23, 2023, the Supreme Court voted to uphold the Biden Administration’s immigration enforcement guidelines, after the policy had come under fire by the states of Texas and Louisiana. In an 8-to-1 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the states pushing back on the guidelines had no standing to sue. The ruling dismissed a challenge from the State Attorneys of Louisiana and Texas. KILF and the The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Texas which upholds the prerogative of the executive branch to set guidelines for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), allowing the agency to prioritize its work, just like every other local, state, and federal agency does each day.

Texas and Louisiana sued to block the guidelines put forward by the Biden Administration, attributing their pushback to the fact that said guidelines “allowed many immigrants with criminal records to remain free while their cases moved forward”. Furthermore, Texas and Louisiana stated that they had suffered financial harm under the rules, due to the notion that they had to jail or provide social services to people they felt should have been arrested. However, Justice Kavanaugh simply stated that aside from the practical issues associated with Texas and Louisiana’s stance, the Executive Branch lacks the resources to arrest and deport all undocumented non-citizens.

The Supreme Court’s decision is being hailed as a major victory for the Biden Administration, as it allows for the Administration to have the ultimate say in how and when undocumented migrants could be arrested and deported. It also allows for the executive branch to prioritize who they detain and deport and how they employ their limited resources. In fact, the new rules are in direct response to the policies put forward under the prior presidential administration, which sought to allow for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to deport anybody in the country without legal documentation. Instead, the new rule is aimed at directing resources towards detaining undocumented migrants who pose a threat to national security, as well as those who had recently crossed the border. In other words, the guidelines set forth by the Biden Administration shift the attention away from all undocumented migrants to those who pose a national security threat.

This decision by the Supreme Court also speaks to the immigration complexities that the Biden Administration is trying to navigate; namely, how to gain control while still treating people in a humane and respectful manner. In making this decision, the Supreme Court recognizes that the Executive Branch has a place at the forefront of the decision-making process in prioritizing which immigrants it chooses to to deport.

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