Texas AG files lawsuit against Biden admin over deportation halt

The Texas attorney general filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration over its order to freeze most deportations for the next 100 days, coming just two days after President Joe Biden entered the Oval Office.

On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memo demanding all of its constituent bureaus “reset and review” their immigration enforcement policies, including a 100-day freeze on most deportations of noncitizens.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) argues that DHS is breaking immigration law by ordering the deportation freeze in the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. His statement also claims that the new orders violate the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas and the DHS.

“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,” Paxton said in a statement. “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.”

Moreover, Paxton’s lawsuit asserts that the DHS’s authority does not extend to such a policy.

“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 filing says. “The Constitution, controlling statutes, and prior Executive pledges prevent a seismic change to this country’s immigration laws merely by memorandum.”

Paxton’s office is requesting that the court issue a restraining order against the new DHS orders. However, it is uncertain when a judge will hear his case.

Paxton previously made headlines for launching a multi-state lawsuit challenging the 2020 presidential election results in some key swing states, echoing then-President Donald Trump’s dubious claims that widespread fraud changed the outcome of the election in those states. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which threw it out in early December for lack of standing.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.