Immigration agents have been enforcing the Trump administration’s orders to deport noncitizens at full speed with one roadblock: the federal courts, the New York Times reports. Immigration activist Ravi Ragbir was scheduled to be deported to Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday, but that was put on hold when his lawyers filed a lawsuit. The government agreed to delay his removal until the court can decide whether his rights have been violated.
His case was one of a growing number in which federal judges have ruled to halt both individual and mass deportations. A judge in New Jersey temporarily stopped the deportation of Indonesian Christians, longtime community members in Highland Park, N.J., who had been swept up by immigration agents. A judge in Boston made a similar ruling in the case of 50 Indonesian Christians, and in December, a Miami judge halted the deportation of 92 Somalis. These judges are not deciding immigration cases, over which they have no jurisdiction, but rather giving people time to fight in the immigration courts. They are insisting that undocumented immigrants have the right of due process, even if many immigrants had known for years that they could be expelled.
Thomas Homan of the Customs and Immigration Enforcement agency said he was “increasingly troubled by orders from federal judges halting the deportation of certain groups of individuals, all of which appear to ignore the fact that each alien in question was lawfully ordered removed from the United States after full and fair proceedings, many of which lasted several years or longer, at great taxpayer expense.” Homan said many aliens pose a “clear safety threat.” Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union said the Trump administration is moving “abruptly” to deport immigrants “without giving them a fair chance to go to immigration court.”