New York City, June 29, 2018 – People marching to convince the government to abolish ICE in Lower Manhattan. (Shutterstock)
By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN
(CNN) – The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court on Friday to stay a court order blocking the Department of Homeland Security from implementing immigration enforcement priorities — potentially setting up Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s first vote since joining the court.
The administration is trying to return to Obama-era immigration enforcement measures based on a priority system instead of the more aggressive approach taken under the Trump administration. That approach, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said, considers the department’s limited resources and allows immigration officers to focus on priorities, like security risks.
Last month, a federal judge in Texas blocked Mayorkas’ guidance for the arrest and removal of immigrants. The administration appealed to the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which this week denied the Justice Department’s request to stay the lower court order pending appeal.
The administration is now taking its ask to the Supreme Court.
“That judgment is thwarting the Secretary’s direction of the Department he leads and disrupting DHS’s efforts to focus its limited resources on the noncitizens who pose the gravest threat to national security, public safety, and the integrity of our Nation’s borders,” wrote Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.
The case has also been complicated by a separate order by the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals that stayed and reversed an injunction against the enforcement priorities.
“(G)iven the importance of the issues presented and the conflict with the Sixth Circuit, the Court may wish to construe this application as a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment, grant the petition, and set this case for argument in the fall,” Prelogar added.