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Texas AG sues Biden admin over 100-day deportation pause

Migrants from Honduras march in a caravan. (Morena Perez Joachin/DPA/Zuma Press/TNS)
January 22, 2021

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced he is suing Joe Biden’s administration over an executive order the new president signed on his first day in office that put a 100-day freeze on deportations for certain non-citizens, in addition to a request for a temporary restraining order.

“In one of its first of dozens of steps that harm Texas and the nation as a whole, the Biden administration directed [Department of Homeland Security] to violate federal immigration law and breach an agreement to consult and cooperate with Texas on that law,” Attorney General Paxton said in a statement.

According to Paxton, the Executive Order violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law and a contractual agreement between the DHS and Texas, a move that he said “would seriously and irreparably harm Texas and its citizens.”

“Our state defends the largest section of the southern border in the nation. Failure to properly enforce the law will directly and immediately endanger our citizens and law enforcement personnel,” Paxton’s statement read. “DHS itself has previously acknowledged that such a freeze on deportations will cause concrete injuries to Texas. I am confident that these unlawful and perilous actions cannot stand. The rule of law and security of our citizens must prevail.”

Going into effect on Friday, Acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske said the pause was ordered “to ensure we have a fair and effective immigration enforcement system focused on protecting national security, border security, and public safety.”

“The pause will allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces, including immediate operational challenges at the southwest border in the midst of the most serious global public health crisis in a century,” Mr. Pekoske’s statement read.

In his request for a temporary restraining order, Paxton said the Pekoske’s memorandum would “irreparably injure the State of Texas.”

“Without emergency relief, Texas faces irreparable harm from having to provide costly educational, social, welfare, healthcare, and other services to illegal aliens who remain in Texas because Defendants have ceased removing them,” Paxton’s request stated.

Security experts have expressed similar concerns that halting deportations will worsen issues at the border, specifically by signaling lenient immigration law enforcement to thousands of migrants already making their way to the United States, the Washington Times reported.

According to Reuters, roughly 6,500 migrants are currently heading north to the southern U.S.border. A number of the migrants recently clashed with Guatemalan military and law enforcement, leading to hundreds of arrests, including families traveling with young children.

On Sunday, a Biden transition official said the migrants seeking asylum “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately,” NBC News reported.