In the opening days of the Biden presidency, the administration issued an array of executive actions, including a 100-day moratorium on deportations for illegal aliens.
Led by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), Republican lawmakers took note of the order, which holds no exception for violent criminals who are also in the country illegally. The pair wrote to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tae Johnson, pointing out that the memorandum “constitutes a wholescale abandonment of law enforcement,” as well as the “will of Congress.” They note that during his confirmation, Mayorkas vowed to respect the rule of law, but this moratorium does not.
“With respect to the 100-day deportation moratorium, we noted with alarm that there is no general exception to the moratorium for criminal aliens. Under the terms of the memorandum, unless the ICE Director determines that the law requires a specific criminal alien be removed, most criminal aliens with final removal orders will be untouchable as long as the deportation moratorium is in place. Given that 92% of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) interior removals from the United States in FY2020 had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges,1the failure to exempt all criminal aliens from the deportation moratorium seems particularly egregious,” Grassley and Tillis wrote on Wednesday. “This deportation moratorium constitutes a wholescale abandonment of law enforcement and a frustration of the will of Congress, written into the law, that aliens with final removal orders actually be removed from the country. It also does not signal the sort of respect for the rule of law that Secretary Mayorkas professed repeatedly at his confirmation hearing on January 19."
The letter was also signed by GOP Sens. John Cornyn (TX), Ron Johnson (WI), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Lee (UT), Josh Hawley (MO), Joni Ernst (IA), Ted Cruz (TX), Tom Cotton (AR), James Lankford (OK), and Ben Sasse (NE). The GOP lawmakers warned the Biden administration officials that the moratorium as written not only sidesteps the rule of law, but also has potential to establish an influx of "sanctuary cities."
"The Department’s January 21 memorandum creates, in our view, an unacceptable threat to public safety; constitutes a disregard for the rule of law and the will of Congress; and undercuts the integrity of the immigration enforcement regime. While some local jurisdictions have in recent years taken steps to establish themselves as 'sanctuary cities,' at grave peril to their residents, the interim enforcement priorities and the deportation moratorium described in the January 21 memorandum are a big step towards converting the entire United States into a sanctuary nation. This is illogical and unacceptable."
While promising “unity” and a return to normalcy, the moratorium issued by the Biden administration would allow violent criminals, who are illegally present in the first place, to return to the streets.