DOJ Rescinds ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy; Texas Judge Blocks Biden Deportation Pause

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Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson rescinded the Trump era “zero tolerance” policy for immigration offenses that allowed the U.S. government to separate thousands of children from their parents in a memo sent Tuesday to federal prosecutors, reports NPR. Under the policy, adults who entered the U.S. from the Southern border were prosecuted for illegal entry. Children can’t be imprisoned with parents and other family members, so young kids were taken into federal custody — resulting in more than 3,000 children being separated from their families. Zero tolerance was criticized as a humanitarian failure. A report from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, released earlier this month, noted that once parents were separated from their children, there was neither a clear plan nor resources to easily reunite parents with their kids.

However, even as President Joe Biden continues to dismantle Trump’s most controversial immigration policies, conservative uproar has resulted in complications.  In Texas, Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee, granted a temporary restraining order sought by Attorney General Ken Paxton against Biden’s 100-day deportation moratorium, saying the state had demonstrated a likelihood of facing immediate harm from Biden’s pause, reports the Washington Post. The court order will be in effect for 14 days while Tipton considers a broader motion by the state for a preliminary injunction. The state’s lawsuit portends more legal challenges by Biden opponents, appealing to a judicial branch reshaped by the confirmation of hundreds of Trump appointees. Texas argued that the moratorium would place an unfair burden on the state and that the measure violated an agreement Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) had signed with Ken Cuccinelli, then acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, less than two weeks before Biden was sworn in.  The Biden administration does not recognize the agreement as legally binding.

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