The Washington Post

Justices won’t revive border-arrest policy

- — Robert Barnes and Maria Sacchetti

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to reinstate the Biden administra­tion’s policy limiting immigratio­n arrests, after a Texas district judge said the guidance to deportatio­n officers violated federal laws.

The court instead said it will hear the merits of the case in December. The practical result is that the administra­tion will not be able to implement its strategy for the rest of the year.

The vote was 5-4. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett and Ketanji Brown Jackson indicated they would have granted the administra­tion’s request to put the lower court ruling on hold and allow the administra­tion to go forward with its policy while deciding the merits of the case.

It was Jackson’s first recorded vote since she joined the court June 30. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh turned down the administra­tion’s request, so it was the first time a 5-4 vote on the court also indicated a gender split.

In September, the Department of Homeland Security directed U.S. Immigratio­n and Customs Enforcemen­t officers to prioritize the detention of recent border crossers and immigrants who pose a threat to national security and public safety, and to consider giving a break to immigrants with mitigating factors, such as farmworker­s picking crops and grandmothe­rs caring for American children.

Republican attorneys general across the country filed suits, and those in Texas and Louisiana were successful when Judge Drew Tipton in Texas sided with them.

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