“This complete abdication of the Department of Homeland Security’s (‘DHS’) obligation to enforce federal immigration law is unlawful and will seriously and irreparably harm the State of Texas and its citizens.”
Among Biden’s many initial executive orders was a halt on deportations. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wasted no time reacting to this and filed a lawsuit against the administration.
Biden is trying to undo pretty much everything Trump did on immigration and is expected to go much further.
Paxton filed the complaint Friday afternoon:
“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,” said Attorney General Paxton. “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 complaint states DHS failed to notify and consult with Texas before issuing the January 20th Memorandum. The memo also “exceeds the authority DHS can delegate to Acting Secretary [David] Pekoske and is therefore ultra vires.”
Ultra vires means “beyond the powers.” It “[D]actions taken by government bodies or corporations that exceed the scope of power given to them by laws or corporate charters.”
Paxton said that failure to remove illegal aliens violates 8 U.S.C § 1231, which says that “when an alien is ordered removed, the Attorney General shall remove the alien from the United States within a period of 90 days.”
The January 20th Memorandum pauses removals for 100 days.
Paxton threatened the lawsuit via Twitter on Thursday::
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) January 22, 2021
His office released this statement:
Response DHS’s Unlawful Pause on Removals
Dear Mr. Pekoske:
Yesterday you ordered a blanket halt on nearly all deportations of illegal aliens. This complete abdication of the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) obligation to enforce federal immigration law is unlawful and will seriously and irreparably harm the State of Texas and its citizens.
Specifically, your memorandum directed DHS to impose “an immediate pause on removals of any noncitizen with a final order of removal [subject to limited exceptions] for 100 days to go into effect as soon as practical and no later than January 22, 2021.”1 Should such a directive be legal or left unchallenged, DHS could attempt to renew that directive indefinitely or issue a similar directive for an even longer period of time. That would allow the Biden Administration to grant blanket amnesty to the vast majority of the illegal aliens in this country with the stroke of a pen and without congressional approval.
Border states like Texas pay a particularly high price when the federal government fails to faithfully execute our country’s immigration laws. Your attempted halt on almost all deportations would increase the cost to Texas caused by illegal immigration. DHS itself has previously acknowledged that such a “pause on . . . removals” will cause “concrete injuries to Texas.” See Agreement between Department of Homeland Security and the State of Texas (“Agreement”) § 2.
Paxton clearly has the backing of Texas Governor Greg Abbott:
President Biden is trying to halt deportations of illegal aliens who already have a final order of removal from the U.S.
This abandons the obligation to enforce federal immigration laws.
Texas is fighting this attempt to grant blanket amnesty.https://t.co/9Zafo9151y
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 22, 2021
Arizona Central outlines the steps Biden has already taken:
The Biden administration’s decision to suspend deportations for many immigrants over the next 100 days surprised even immigrant advocates pushing for a reversal of former President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies.
The announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security late Wednesday came after President Joe Biden signed several immigration-related executive orders just hours after his inauguration.
Those orders, including halting further construction of Trump’s border wall, ending the so-called Muslim ban, fortifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from legal attacks and rescinding Trump’s aggressive immigration enforcement plan, had been signaled by Biden’s transition team beforehand.
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