Texas Sues Biden Administration Over Deportation Freeze Order
January 22, 2021 Updated: January 23, 2021
“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. 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 (pdf), filed in a federal district court in Texas, states. “This unlawful reversal will cause Texas immediate and irreparable harm if it is not enjoined.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to a request for comment.
President Joe Biden’s Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske issued a memo (pdf) on Jan. 20 “directing an immediate pause on removals of any noncitizen with a final order of removal (except as noted below) for 100 days.” The exceptions to the order include illegal aliens who have either engaged in or are suspected of terrorism or espionage.”
According to the lawsuit, Pekoske’s memo affects nearly all illegal aliens with pending deportations “including those whose removal was ordered following a full and fair hearing and those who are not entitled—and do not claim to be entitled—to further immigration benefits.”
The lawsuit claims that the order violates and agreement between DHS and Texas because the agency failed to notify the state of the changes and did not consider the harms Texas may suffer as a result.
The lawsuit, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, asks the federal court to declare Pekoske’s memo unlawful and to block the defendants from executing the order.
“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,” Paxton said in a statement.
“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.”