Texas Attorney Ken Paxton on Friday filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over what he described as an “unlawful and perilous” 100-day pause on deportations of illegal immigrants. The Texas AG claims it would put Americans in danger and violated existing agreements.
“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,” he said. “The rule of law and security of our citizens must prevail.”
The Biden administration on Wednesday announced the deportation freeze, to go into effect Friday, of “certain noncitizens ordered deported,” Fox News reported.
The broad “pause” would have exceptions. It would exclude those who, according to a written finding by the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have engaged in terrorism or espionage or who pose a danger to national security. It would also exclude those who were not present in the U.S. before Nov. 1, 2020, those who agreed to waive the right to remain, and those whom the ICE director individually determined need to be removed by law.
Paxton claims that the directive violates the Constitution and federal law as well as a contractual agreement between Texas and DHS signed in the final days of the Trump administration that the state would be consulted before reducing immigration enforcement or pausing deportations.
The agreement means that DHS must give Texas 180 days notice of any proposed change on any matter that would reduce enforcement or increase the number of “removable or inadmissible aliens” in the U.S. Paxton claims that agreement has been violated, Fox reported.
The lawsuit claims that Texas is directly harmed by such a drastic change in immigration enforcement and will be so further if the pause is allowed to continue.
“For example, Texas expends funds to provide social services to illegal immigrants each year, including health care and education expenses, and must account for those anticipated expenditures in its budget,” the complaint says. “Those amounts will increase should DHS halt nearly all of the removals from Texas.”