Texas sued the federal government on Friday after President Joe Biden ordered deportations of illegal immigrants halted for the first 100 days of his administration.
As one of his first acts in office, Biden halted deportations for most illegal immigrants for the first 100 days of his term as his administration looks to roll back former President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed suit against the federal government citing an agreement the state struck with the Department of Homeland Security in the final days of the Trump administration.
“In one of its first of dozens of steps that harm Texas and the nation as a whole, the Biden administration directed DHS to violate federal immigration law and breach an agreement to consult and cooperate with Texas on that law. 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 said in a statement. “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.”
The agreement cited by Paxton was signed by Ken Cuccinelli, who was performing the duties of the deputy secretary for DHS at the time. The agreement states that the federal government will convene with the state before making any changes to immigration policy, an agreement that, if enforceable, could bog down Biden’s attempts to relax Trump-era immigration policies.
“On its first day in office, the Biden Administration cast aside congressionally enacted immigration laws and suspended the removal of illegal aliens whose removal is compelled by those very laws,” Paxton’s lawsuit states. “In doing so, it ignored basic constitutional principles and violated its written pledge to work cooperatively with the State of Texas to address shared immigration enforcement concerns. This unlawful reversal will cause Texas immediate and irreparable harm if it is not enjoined.”
“Wednesday night, the alleged acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) ordered a halt on nearly all deportations of illegal aliens, including those whose removal was ordered following a full and fair hearing and those who are not entitled—and do not claim to be entitled—to further immigration benefits,” it continues. “If left unchallenged, DHS could re-assert this suspension power for a longer period or even indefinitely, effectively granting a blanket amnesty to illegal aliens that Congress has refused to pass time and time again. The Constitution, controlling statutes, and prior Executive pledges prevent a seismic change to this country’s immigration laws merely by memorandum.”
Biden signaled during his campaign and throughout the transition that he aimed to roll back Trump’s immigration policies. Biden’s rhetoric has motivated thousands of migrants to flock to the U.S. southern border in anticipation of more lax border policies and a chance to enter the U.S., perhaps illegally.
During the transition, Biden officials tried to dissuade migrants from coming immediately to the border, claiming “the situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” one official said.
“We have to provide a message that help and hope is on the way, but coming right now does not make sense for their own safety … while we put into place processes that they may be able to access in the future,” the official said.