Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up

Biden Limits on Immigrant Arrests Suffer Fifth Circuit Setback

Dec. 1, 2021, 1:20 AM

The full Fifth Circuit on Tuesday vacated a decision from a three-judge panel that largely kept in place President Joe Biden’s guidance to limit immigration arrests and deportations while a challenge to those policies plays out in federal court.

A preliminary injunction issued in August by a federal judge in Texas blocked Biden’s enforcement policies at the request of Texas and Louisiana. The states challenged a memo instructing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize arrests of undocumented immigrants who posed national security risks.

A three judge panel of the Fifth Circuit issued a partial stay in September, allowing the preliminary injunction to remain in place only as to a requirement that ICE detain undocumented immigrants who are already subject to removal orders. That ruling allowed ICE officials to largely rely on Biden’s guidance while the challenge against it is litigated.

A majority of active Fifth Circuit judges voted to vacate the September decision and rehear the case against the preliminary injunction en banc, the court said.

The case is State of Texas v. USA, 5th Cir., No. 21-40618, 11/30/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maeve Allsup in San Francisco at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Meghashyam Mali at