by Bethany Blankley
Texas plans to sue the Biden administration over several executive orders recently issued, and immigration policy is front and center.
“A new crop of Texas-led lawsuits awaits Joe Biden’s White House,” Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted. “Texas will take action whenever the federal government encroaches on state’s rights, or interferes with constitutional rights, or private property rights or the right to earn a living.”
Texas, along with California, leads the states in the number of times it has sued the federal government. Arguing against federal government overreach and in favor of the Tenth Amendment, Texas’ legal actions have ranged from suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), the Clean Power Plan, and many other issues. Now immigration is policy is the target.
Attorney General Ken Paxton said the state will sue the Biden administration after the Department of Homeland Security announced it was implementing an “illegal deportation freeze” for 100 days.
The agency says the purpose of the freeze “will allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces, including immediate operational challenges at the southwest border in the midst of the most serious global public health crisis in a century. Throughout this interim period, DHS will continue to enforce our immigration laws.”
Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske in a memorandum ordered agencies reporting to DHS to “review immigration enforcement policies and set interim policies for civil enforcement.”
But Paxton replied in a letter, tweeting, “Border states like Texas pay a particularly high price when the federal government fails to faithfully execute our country’s immigration laws. I won’t tolerate unlawful acts from Joe Biden’s administration. Today, I am taking action.”
Paxton argues the administration is obligated to consult with Texas 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 writes.
The DHS memo states that deportations will continue under certain circumstances, including deporting those who pose a national security threat, those who have been convicted of an aggravated felony, who have been released from prison and are determined to be a security threat, and anyone who illegally entered the United States after Nov. 1.
“Due to limited resources, DHS cannot respond to all immigration violations or remove all persons unlawfully in the United States,” Pekoske states in the memo. “DHS must implement civil immigration enforcement based on sensible priorities and changing circumstances. DHS’s civil immigration enforcement priorities are protecting national security, border security, and public safety.”
Biden’s new immigration proposal, among other measures, offers an eight-year path to citizenship for roughly 11 million undocumented individuals living in the U.S.
Abbott tweeted in support of Paxton, saying, “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.”
In response to Biden’s plan, Lora Ries and Hans von Spakovsky, Heritage Foundation senior legal fellows, said in a statement, “No president has the power to override existing immigration law and establish a general administrative amnesty for illegal immigrants, even providing them with government benefits. Pursuing a legislative amnesty, however, is not only unnecessary but unwise. It would make our southern border less secure, cause even more foreigners to overstay their visas, and act as an incentive to attract even more illegal immigrants to the country.”
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Bethany Blankley is a contributor to The Center Square.