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Federal Judge Prevents Biden Administration From Pausing Deportations For Two More Weeks

Officers in green fatigues stand among a group of migrants they have detained near the Paso del Norte International Bridge.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents detain migrants near the Paso del Norte International Bridge.

A federal judge in Texas has extended the block on President Joe Biden’s deportation moratorium for two more weeks as the case continues to play out in court.

Judge Drew Tipton said in an order dated Monday the extension was necessary for “the record to be more fully developed” in the case brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who challenged Biden’s 100-day pause on deportations.

Tipton originally issued a 14-day suspension of Biden’s moratorium on Jan. 26. The pause in deportations was part of Biden’s attempted day one overhaul of several of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. But Paxton quickly filed a lawsuit in response to Biden’s moratorium, claiming the state would face financial harm if undocumented immigrants were released from custody, because of costs associated with health care and education.

In his order, Tipton, a Trump appointee who took the bench last year, said Texas would face more harm than the federal government if the extension was not granted.

The moratorium was announced as part a review of enforcement policies within Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agencies as the Biden administration developed its final priorities, according to the Biden administration.

Days after Tipton issued the first order, a witness to the El Paso Walmart shooting was deported after being pulled over during a traffic stop. Her attorney said the woman, who was cooperating with prosecutors in El Paso, would not have been sent back to Mexico had Paxton not filed the lawsuit.