Supreme Court

Supreme Court sides with Biden's 2021 deportation policy

The court ruled Friday that Texas and Louisiana lack standing to sue the Biden administration over its 2021 deportation policy.

Guatemalan migrants searched before boarding a deportation flight.
Veronica G. Cardenas/AP
SMS

In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Friday that two states lacked standing to sue the Biden administration over its 2021 immigration policy. 

Justice Samuel Alito was the lone dissent. 

The case was led by Texas and Louisiana, with other Republican attorneys general offering support.

The Biden administration's policy said immigration officials should prioritize deportations based on a person's threat to national security or public safety. The 2021 guidelines essentially meant those in the U.S. illegally but not considered a threat to public safety would likely not be targeted for deportation.

"To establish standing, a plaintiff must show an injury in fact caused by the defendant and redressable by a court order," the Supreme Court ruled. "The District Court found that the States would incur additional costs due to the challenged arrest policy. And monetary costs are an injury. But this Court has stressed that the alleged injury must also “be legally and judicially cognizable.” 

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The states argued that the policy causes injury to them because they have to pay for public goods, such as social services, education and health care for undocumented immigrants. 

"The States have brought an extraordinarily unusual lawsuit," Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his majority opinion. "They want a federal court to order the Executive Branch to alter its arrest policies so as to make more arrests. Federal courts have not traditionally entertained that kind of lawsuit; indeed, the States cite no precedent for a lawsuit like this."

The 2021 Biden administration memo noted that it does not have the ability to remove all undocumented immigrants from the country. 

"We do not have the resources to apprehend and seek the removal of every one of these noncitizens," the memo reads. "Therefore, we need to exercise our discretion and determine whom to prioritize for immigration enforcement action."