On January 26, in what is likely to be only the first of such orders by Trump judges in Texas, Trump district court judge Drew Tipton issued a temporary restraining order imposing a nationwide block on President Biden’s new executive order on deportations. That order paused most deportations for 100 days as the administration overhauls its immigration enforcement priorities.
The request was made by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who triumphantly declared “victory” for Texas as “the first state in the nation” to sue the Biden administration for its actions. The judge’s order will remain in effect for 14 days as he considers a request for a longer injunction against the policy, an injunction which may or may not continue to be nationwide in scope. Meanwhile, an ACLU attorney who opposed the court order called President Biden’s actions “not only lawful but necessary” to prevent further harm from restrictive Trump policies like family separation, and called Paxton’s lawsuit an attempt to force the new Administration to continue to “follow Trump’s xenophobic policies.”
The Biden administration should take prompt action to try to limit or reverse the judge’s order, particularly to limit its nationwide impact beyond Texas. Interestingly, the order itself contradicts the earlier views of far-right advocates and judges that there should be no such nationwide orders against policies ordered by Trump. The case also emphasizes the importance of Congress and the Biden administration moving promptly to create and fill new federal judgeships in courts around the country, including in Texas, as recently recommended by the Judicial Conference.