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Supreme Court rejects a lawsuit from states demanding that Biden administration boost deportations

WASHINGTON (AP): The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a Republican-led challenge to a Biden administration policy that prioritises the deportation of immigrants who are deemed to pose the greatest risk to public safety or were picked up at the border.

The justices voted 8-1 to allow the long-blocked policy to take effect, recognising there is not enough money or manpower to deport all 11 million or so people who are in the United States illegally.

The case was one of two immigration cases decided on Friday, the other upholding a section of federal law used to prosecute people who encourage illegal immigration.

In the deportation case, Louisiana and Texas had argued that federal immigration law requires authorities to detain and expel those in the US illegally, even if they pose little or no risk.

But the court held that the states lacked the legal standing, or right to sue, in the first place.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his opinion for the court that the executive branch has no choice but to prioritise enforcement efforts.

“That is because the Executive Branch invariably lacks the resources to arrest and prosecute every violator of every law and must constantly react and adjust to the ever-shifting public-safety and public welfare needs of the American people,” Kavanaugh wrote.

At the centre of the case is a September 2021 directive from the Department of Homeland Security that paused deportations unless individuals had committed acts of terrorism, espionage or “egregious threats to public safety”. The guidance, issued after Joe Biden became president, updated a Trump-era policy to remove people who were in the country illegally, regardless of criminal history or community ties.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas applauded Friday’s decision, saying it would allow immigration officers “to focus limited resources and enforcement actions on those who pose a threat to our national security, public safety and border security”.