Texas, which shares a long border with Mexico, says the freeze will cause “irreparable harm” to the state.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit to block U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to suspend certain deportations for 100 days, a move by the Democratic president that has prompted some Republicans to return.
Paxton claimed in the federal lawsuit that the state would suffer “irreparable harm” if the order goes into effect and “[f]Enforcing the law properly will directly and immediately endanger our citizens and law enforcement.
Biden promised during the election campaign to enact a 100-day moratorium on election deportations, a proposal that stood in stark contrast to the immigration crackdown promoted by former Republican President Donald Trump.
After Biden took office on Wednesday, the senior US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official issued a note ordering a halt on some deportations to allow the department to better deal with “operational challenges” at the border Mexican-American during the pandemic.
In the court filing Friday, Paxton argued that the deportation moratorium violated the president’s constitutional duty to enforce federal laws.
They haven’t moved.
– Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) January 22, 2021
Paxton, a Republican, also said the temporary freeze violated an enforcement agreement the state negotiated with the outgoing Trump administration earlier this month.
The lawsuit, which repeatedly cited Texas’ agreement with the Trump administration, was filed before Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton in the Southern District of Texas.
Biden also said he would push for legal status and a path to citizenship for anyone in the United States by Jan. 1, roughly 11 million people.
Texas shares over 1,200 miles (1,930 km) of border with Mexico, which Republican state leaders say makes them particularly invested in the country’s immigration policies. It also took in thousands of refugees each year before Trump virtually ended admissions.
The state is currently waging a fight to overturn the Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals put in place by Obama in 2012, which grants limited protections to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
Friday’s lawsuit echoes many of the same arguments Texas makes against the DACA, that immigrants without permission drain education and health resources.
Supporters of immigrant protection have said these arguments are flawed and that immigrants are helping the state’s economy and the health care sector, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But law enforcement battles during the Obama administration have also provided ambitious Texas politicians with a ready-made national platform, including former Gov. Rick Perry, who twice ran for president. , and Gov. Greg Abbott, a potential candidate for 2024 who bragged as attorney general’s job was to sue the federal government and return home.
By bringing one of the first lawsuits Against the Biden administration, Paxton is eager to be seen as a Republican champion not only as Democrats return to power in Washington, but as his own career has passed under dark clouds.
The FBI is investigating Paxton, who was a staunch Trump ally, for accusations by former high-ranking aides that he abused his office in the service of a donor. Separately, Paxton has pleaded not guilty in state court to fraud charges for an investor in a case that has dragged on for five years.
The White House has not published a commentary on the trial.