On January 20, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would pause most (not all) deportations for 100 days, starting on January 22, 2021. We rejoiced. DHS also announced, in the same memo, that it was shifting its priorities regarding who would be a priority for ICE to arrest, and/or to place in removal proceedings, among other things. Instead of “arrest them all” as the last president desired, DHS will now focus its resources on those who are suspected threats to national security, those who entered the U.S. on or after November 1, 2020, and those who have been convicted of an aggravated felony. These priorities take effect on February 1, 2021. More reason to rejoice!
Meanwhile, however, the state of Texas sued the Biden administration in federal court over its 100-day deportation moratorium. The federal judge granted a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) on January 26, 2021, telling the Biden administration it cannot implement its deportation moratorium for at least 14 days. However, the TRO only applies to the 100-day moratorium, and does NOT have any effect on the new enforcement priorities. We are therefore still hopeful that ICE will independently exercise its discretion to not deport a lot of folks in the next 100 days. We are also hopeful that they will start releasing a significant portion of detainees in the coming weeks, particularly in light of the draft ICE memo that Buzz Feed News has seen.