For North Texas families facing separation due to deportation, a 100-day pause implemented by President Biden shortly after taking office means 100 days to breathe.
After Eric Garza was stopped for a traffic violation, his fiancé and three children, all U.S. citizens, feared the worst.
"I felt really sad, because he's my dad, and I thought I was never going to see him again,” said 12-year-old Erik Garza.
Garza's lived in the U.S. for more than a decade.
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His attorney, Fernando Dubove, said cases like his are the ones the Department of Homeland Security will likely put on hold.
Announcing the move, DHS released a statement:
"For 100 days, starting January 22, 2021, DHS will pause removals for certain noncitizens ordered deported to ensure we have a fair and effective immigration enforcement system focused on protecting national security, border security, and public safety."
It's just a better allocation of the DHS's limited resources,” said Dubove.
Dubove said it’s a return to the Obama era prosecutorial discretion, as the department chooses to prioritize the deportation of criminals.
"DHS has finite resources. They only have so many officers, so many immigration judges, so many prosecutors, and they need to focus those people's attention and time on truly important cases. Again, cases involving drug dealers, terrorists, persons with violent criminal histories,” said Dubove.
Though a delay alone is unlikely to change the outcome in Garza’s case, Dubove said their hope is that it gives Congress time to adopt more long-term reform that could.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded to the move Thursday night calling a deportation pause unlawful saying it would “seriously and irreparably harm the State of Texas and its citizens.”
Paxton threatened that if it wasn’t immediately rescinded, the state would sue.
The moratorium is set to take effect Friday.
It does not include people who came to the U.S. after November 1 or those who’ve been suspected of terrorism or espionage or are believed to be a danger to national security.