In response to Biden administration’s announcement of a temporary pause on deportations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (TX-R) threatened to sue the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden signed over a dozen executive orders revoking policies enacted by his predecessor. Thus far, Biden has embarked on bold immigration policies that have been met with significant Republican resistance in Congress. Through executive orders, Biden has bolstered the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, called on Congress to enact legislation providing a path to citizenship for immigrants, revoked the Trump exclusion of noncitizens from the census count, halted aggressive efforts to deport unauthorized immigrants, blocked the deportation of Liberians, ended Trump’s so-called Muslim ban, and halted construction of the border wall with Mexico.
The orders triggered a memo from DHS Acting Secretary David Pekoske which called for an internal review of its policies concerning immigration enforcement. The memo stipulated that deportations can continue under certain circumstances, including individuals who pose a threat to national security, anyone who was convicted of an aggravated felony and released from prison and who has been determined to be a security threat, and anyone who illegally entered the United States after Nov. 1.
In a letter to Pekoske on Thursday, Paxton denounced Biden’s decision to pause deportations for 100 days as “illegal.”
“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,” Paxton wrote. “Border states like Texas pay a particularly high price when the federal government fails to faithfully execute our country’s immigration laws.”
The Attorney General contended that the administration is obligated to consult with the state before reducing immigration enforcement measures.
“DHS’s failure to provide Texas with pre-implementation notice of the memorandum—combined with its quick implementation of the memorandum—makes waiting impracticable. We require an immediate response or we will seek relief to enjoin your order, as contemplated by the Agreement,” Paxton added.
Paxton’s threat of a lawsuit was supported by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who tweeted: “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.”