The Supreme Court just let a Trump judge seize control of ICE, at least for now

“the Supreme Court handed down a brief, 5-4 decision that effectively places Drew Tipton, a Trump-appointed federal trial judge in Texas, in charge of many of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) decisions about which immigrants to target.

The decision was largely along party lines, except that Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the Court’s three Democratic appointees.

The decision in United States v. Texas is temporary, but the upshot of this decision is that Tipton will effectively wield much of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s authority over how ICE officers prioritize their time for as much as an entire year — and that’s assuming that the Biden administration ultimately prevails when the Court reconsiders this case next winter.

At issue in this case is a perfectly standard decision Mayorkas made last September. Federal law provides that the secretary of homeland security “shall be responsible” for “establishing national immigration enforcement policies and priorities.” Pursuant to this authority, Mayorkas issued a memo to ICE’s acting director, informing him that the agency should prioritize enforcement efforts against undocumented or otherwise removable immigrants who “pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security and thus threaten America’s well-being.”

Then-secretaries of homeland security issued similar memos setting enforcement priorities in 2000, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2017.

Not long after Mayorkas handed down his memo, however, the Republican attorneys general of Texas and Louisiana went to Tipton, a Trump judge with a history of handing down legally dubious decisions halting Biden administration immigration policies, asking Tipton to invalidate Mayorkas’s memo. Tipton obliged, and an especially conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed Tipton’s order to remain in effect.

DOJ asked the Supreme Court to stay Tipton’s decision, temporarily restoring an elected administration’s control over federal law enforcement while this case proceeds. But the Court just refused. And it did so without explanation.”

Biden is trying to rein in ICE with new immigration enforcement priorities

“Among President Joe Biden’s key campaign promises on immigration was to end Trump-era policies that threatened all undocumented immigrants with deportation and to identify new priorities for enforcement that protect families, workers, and longtime residents. New guidance issued Thursday is a step toward fulfilling that promise, but it still leaves individual immigration enforcement officers with significant decision-making power.

According to a memo from acting US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tae Johnson, the agency will now prioritize people who pose a threat to national security or public safety for deportation, as well as recent arrivals. Specifically, that includes those who have engaged in terrorism or espionage or are suspected of doing so, people over the age of 16 who are members of criminal gangs and transnational criminal organizations, and people who arrived in the US after November 1, 2020. People who were apprehended while trying to cross the border without authorization at any point, even before November 1, are also being targeted.

The memo doesn’t make people with criminal records into automatic enforcement targets, but it does prioritize those convicted of certain offenses classified as “aggravated felonies” — which can include filing a false tax return or failing to appear in court. While those crimes might appear relatively minor, the Obama administration’s deportation guidance targeted people with just a single “significant misdemeanor.”

The memo represents a departure from Trump-era policies in which any immigrant — regardless of whether they had committed crimes or how long they had resided in the US — could have been targeted by ICE, sometimes in wide-scale raids. But it’s less clear whether the memo will allow the Biden administration to meaningfully advance from the Obama-era status quo on immigration enforcement, in which “felons, not families” were supposed to be deported as part of reforms that ICE largely ignored.”

““Despite what some critics may claim, this memo does not block immigration enforcement, but rather makes very clear that ICE officers retain discretion and that no one is completely off limits from apprehension, detention, or removal,””

Why the record low Arctic sea ice this October is so alarming

“Changes in the ice are part of a larger “cascade effect,” as Webster describes it, in which delayed winter ice growth leads to thinner ice, which melts more easily in the summer months compared to older, thicker sea ice. This creates more open ocean.

This transformation contributes to both regional and global warming. Where a white sea ice surface would have reflected sunlight, the dark water absorbs heat, which further reduces ice growth. This change in albedo (or reflectivity) on sea and land in the Arctic is one of the main reasons the region is heating at twice the global average rate, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2019 Arctic Report Card. According to the recent Nature Communications study, it will also be a significant contributor to global warming.

Near Greenland — which holds a massive ice sheet — the warming loop set off by sea ice loss has a minor effect on its warming, but not a substantial effect on the ice sheet itself, researchers found in a 2019 study in Geophysical Research Letters.

The sea ice shift could also impact seasonal weather, potentially intensifying extreme weather. However, Labe says the issue requires further research. “Scientists are actively studying the connections between Arctic sea ice loss and wintertime weather patterns in North America, Europe, and Asia,” he said. “However, these relationships remain highly uncertain in the scientific literature and for seasonal weather forecasts.”

For now, the plummeting sea ice volumes are a startling reminder of just how rapidly the planet is changing, and how dire the consequences of delaying radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will be.”

ICE Agents Fight Sex Trafficking by Paying Potential Victims for Hand Jobs

“Agents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Arizona have been “fighting” human trafficking by sending federal immigration agents to coerce suspected victims into paid sex acts. These acts were later used by authorities to justify arresting women who agreed to them, seizing their assets, and telling the press it was these women who were the real predators.”

“Absurd and horrifying? Obviously. But also a scenario that is far from an isolated incident.”