The state of Texas was the first to sue the Biden administration, a lawsuit among many expected to be filed in response to executive orders issued.
Texas’s first lawsuit filed was in response to the Department of Homeland Security announcing it would be suspending for 100 days the deportations of people in the U.S. illegally.
“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 states.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Victoria Division.
Texas sued David Pekoske, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as the agency, Troy Miller, senior official performing the duties of the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the agency, Tae Johnson, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the agency, Tracy Renaud, senior official performing the duties of the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the agency.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not released a statement on the lawsuit.
The memo issued by Pekoske to Homeland Security agencies on Jan. 20 directed “an immediate pause on removals of any noncitizen with a final order of removal (except as noted below) for 100 days.” The exceptions include anyone perceived as a threat to national security.
According to Texas’ lawsuit, Pekoske’s memo affects nearly all illegal immigrants 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.”
Paxton argues that the order violates an agreement between DHS and Texas and asks the court to declare the directives in the memo unlawful and block them from being executed.
“This unlawful reversal will cause Texas immediate and irreparable harm if it is not enjoined,” the lawsuit claims.
“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.”
In response to the deportation plan, Gov. Greg Abbott said, “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.”