Four Texas sheriffs, their counties, and ICE representatives have sued President Biden and officials as the Department of Homeland Security for preventing federal officers from deporting illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds.
Kinney, Edwards, McMullen and Hudspeth counties along with the Federal Police Foundation—which represents ICE officers – filed a complaint Thursday calling on the Biden administration to allow ICE officials to do their job.
The complaint alleges the decision by then-acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske on Jan. 20 temporarily paused deportations and enticed criminal immigrants to come into the U.S. without fear of reprisal.
“The ICE officers involved in this case are absolutely astounded at what their superiors are asking them to do: releasing people charged with rape of a child, releasing people charged with dealing drugs and resisting arrest,” Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state and the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Washington Examiner Friday. “These are really serious criminals, and ICE is being ordered by the political leadership of the Biden administration to turn them loose.”
On Feb. 18, acting ICE Director Tae Johnson issued a memo directing ICE officials to hold off on taking illegal immigrants into custody without first getting the permission of ICE leadership.
The only instances when an illegal immigrant can be taken into custody otherwise is if they are a known or suspected terrorist, entered the country before the 2020 presidential election, have been convicted of an aggregated felony, or are part of a criminal gang, the Washington, D.C.-based publication noted.
Prior to the February memo, local police officers were able to arrest illegal immigrants and hand them over to ICE officials. Once in custody, they would face legal deportation proceedings.
Sheriffs are now meant to release the illegal immigrants back into society.
“The Biden administration policy stands in direct violation of not one, but three, different federal statutes,” Kobach told the publication. “The administration’s actions have forced ICE to stand down and have almost brought deportations to a halt.
“That has fueled the crisis at the border, encouraging more illegal immigration. It has also created an unbearable burden for local law enforcement in Texas,” he added.
Customs and Border Protection have reported a whopping 930,000 illegal immigrant encounters at the southern border since January – over 180,000 of which came in May alone.
The figure is expected to exceed well over 1 million once June encounters have been released.