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Government will appeal Texas ruling against Biden administration's deportation priorities

Last week, a federal court in Texas ruled the Biden administration could not move forward with enforcement priorities it outlined last fall for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

The new directive, announced last September, had ICE agents focus on deporting immigrants who were deemed to be a national security threat or those who crossed the border without permission recently.

It was a shift away from Trump-era policies that gave agents wide authority to focus deportation efforts on any of the more than 11 million undocumented  immigrants living in the U.S.

The Biden administration argued its new guidelines would focus the agency’s limited resources on protecting public safety, rather than target people who’d lived in the U.S. for years and posed no security risk. Back then, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the majority of immigrants living undocumented in the U.S. had been in the country for years, often working in frontline jobs like teaching and agriculture, differences blanket enforcement efforts did not take into account. 

But on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton  ruled the new guidance unlawful and said Mayorkas did not have the authority to issue it. It's the latest decision in a host of lawsuits brought by conservative states, including Arizona, against the Biden administration's immigration and border policies. 

On Monday, CBS reported the government intends to appeal the decision.  

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.