Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday sued Biden-appointed officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to stop an executive action pausing deportations for 100 days.
President Joe Biden signed the 100-day moratorium on his first day in office, as part of a comprehensive review of DHS policies. The deportation freeze seeks to allow DHS to “enable focusing the Department’s resources where they are needed most,” including COVID-19 mitigation efforts in ICE facilities.
The order does not bar all deportations. It directs the department to prioritize the deportation of immigrants “suspected of terrorism or espionage,” crossers who entered the country after November 1, 2020, and people who have voluntarily waived their right to stay in the US. It also does not seek to hamper “the apprehension or detention of individuals unlawfully in the United States who are not identified as priorities herein.”
Paxton argues that this order violates an agreement that the Trump administration’s DHS signed with Texas and a few other states weeks before Biden took office. The agreement required DHS to give state officials six months’ notice before changing immigration laws and ensured the states had a right to comment on proposed plans.
He claims that the pause on deportations could lead to “budgetary harms, including higher education and healthcare costs,” and requests an injunction on the moratorium until legal issues can be discussed further. The case will be heard in Texas by Trump-appointed federal judge Drew Tipton.
Paxton, who led a major fraudulent election challenge for Donald Trump, pledged to “fight against the many unconstitutional and illegal actions that the new administration will take, challenge federal overreach that infringes on Texans’ rights and serve as a major check against the administration’s lawlessness.” Paxton is currently under investigation by the FBI for allegedly using his office to do favors for his political donors.