In a deeply disappointing 8-1 decision handed down on Friday, the Supreme Court effectively reinstated the Biden administration’s lax immigration directives, which determine which illegal aliens to deport. This rebuffs the efforts of two Republican state attorney generals from Texas and Louisiana, who contended that such directives were at odds with immigration law.
The court ruled that the states did not possess the necessary “standing,” or the legal prerogative, to lodge such a lawsuit in the first place, setting a precedent that will limit the circumstances under which a state can contest a federal policy in court in the future.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion, stating:
“In Sum, the States have brought an extraordinarily unusual lawsuit,” Kavanaugh wrote, in an opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. “They want a federal court to order the Executive Branch to alter its arrest policies so as to make more arrests. Federal courts have not traditionally entertained that kind of lawsuit; indeed, the States cite no precedent for a lawsuit like this.”
The ruling is a significant triumph for President Joe Biden and his administration, who have repeatedly sought to justify this prioritization, citing the scarcity of resources. With this decision, the court has curtailed the opportunities for states to challenge federal mandates that they deem to be inappropriate.
At the center of this disagreement was a memo issued in September 2021 by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. This controversial memo spelled out priorities for the apprehension and deportation of certain illegal aliens, thus overturning former President Donald Trump’s commendable attempts to increase deportations.