Texas sued the U.S. government for ordering a halt to most deportations of undocumented immigrants, the first major lawsuit challenging President Joe Biden’s policies just two days into his term and a likely sign of what’s to come from other Republican-led states.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claims the directive from the Department of Homeland Security violated federal law by failing to seek input from the state. Paxton also accused the administration of failing to enforce immigration laws and granting a “blanket amnesty.”
“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 said in the complaint, filed Friday in federal court in Victoria, Texas. “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.”
The suit highlights the clash between Biden’s pledge to reverse the efforts of Donald Trump’s former administration to clamp down on people in the U.S. illegally and Republicans who want to continue those policies. Biden plans to eventually offer a path to citizenship to the almost 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., which will likely trigger additional litigation.
Paxton, who is under federal investigation for bribery and abuse of power allegations made by former aides, led a failed legal challenge by Republican attorneys general that sought to prevent Biden from taking office based on bogus allegations of election fraud. In his new lawsuit, the Texas official claims the current administration is failing to remove immigrants even after they’ve had “full and fair” hearings.
“The Constitution, controlling statutes, and prior Executive pledges prevent a seismic change to this country’s immigration laws merely by memorandum,” Paxton said in the suit.
The Department of Homeland Security’s press office declined to comment and referred questions to the White House. The White House didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.
The case is State of Texas v. U.S., 6:21-cv-00003, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Victoria).
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