On January 22, 2021, Texas sued the U.S. government to stop the 100-day pause in deportations. On January 26, 2021, a judge in Texas issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the deportation moratorium. A TRO is a temporary block on a government action so that the judge can consider the case before the government action happens. In this case, the judge said that the Biden Administration cannot pause deportations while the judge is considering Texas’s case. Although the reasoning behind the TRO is wrong and deeply unjust, it unfortunately means that the moratorium on deportations is temporarily paused.
Here are the key things to know about what the TRO does and does not do:
● The TRO does not block the change in ICE’s priorities. ICE is still ordered to focus its enforcement on the more limited groups of people from the memo, starting February 1.
● The TRO temporarily stops the moratorium on deportations. ICE may now deport people who have a final order of removal.
● The TRO does not require the government to deport people. It just stops the government from automatically pausing all deportations.
● The TRO does not stop people who are detained from asking for release. For example, people who are especially at risk of severe illness or death from COVID may still ask for release from detention under Fraihat, and detained people may still ask for release under bond or orders of supervision.
This TRO is in effect for 14 days. The judge has ordered another round of briefing in the case, which means there is likely to be another hearing and a new decision sometime in the next week or two. We will continue to issue advisories as the situation develops.