Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday sued the Biden administration over its 100-day deportation pause, citing an 11th-hour agreement between Texas and the Trump administration that required the Department of Homeland Security to consult with the state before making changes.
It’s the first lawsuit challenging one of the Biden administration’s immigration actions, coming roughly 50 hours after President Joe Biden took the oath of office.
“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,” the complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, reads.
“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 lawsuit adds.
Legal agreements in the waning days of the Trump administration between DHS and Texas, as well as some other states and counties are intended to slow down the Biden administration’s policy changes, but it’s unclear if those agreements are legal or enforceable. They were signed by Ken Cuccinelli, then the senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary.
A Republican, Paxton led an attempt to void Biden’s Electoral College victory last month and will be a constant presence in federal court attempting to block the Biden administration’s policies on immigration.
During the Trump administration, Paxton also led a lawsuit challenging the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation. The case is ongoing. Paxton is also at the head of the latest lawsuit at the Supreme Court challenging the Affordable Care Act.
Friday’s lawsuit targets the Biden administration’s 100-day pause on deportations. The decision to temporarily halt deportations was made “to ensure we have a fair and effective immigration enforcement system focused on protecting national security, border security, and public safety,” according to a DHS news release this week.
The deportation moratorium takes effect Friday.