Texas AG Paxton files first legal action against Biden administration over deportation freeze

That didn’t take long. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a complaint and motion for a temporary restraining order in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas against the Biden administration Friday over its 100-day freeze on deportations. Paxton warned that this action was coming if the deportation freeze was not rescinded. The executive order remains in place so Paxton carried through with the lawsuit on behalf of the State of Texas.


He issued a warning on Thursday. On Friday he took action.

You can expect Paxton to regularly file lawsuits against the Biden administration, especially over issues like border control and illegal immigration. He issued a press release where he stated that Biden is violating federal immigration law and breaching an agreement to consult and cooperate with Texas on such matters. Only two days into the new administration, Paxton has begun what will be a top priority in office – suing the Biden administration when it enacts open border policies and other actions that affect Texas.

“Our state defends the largest section of the southern border in the nation,” Paxton said in the statement. “Failure to properly enforce the law will directly and immediately endanger our citizens and law enforcement personnel.”

In a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske, and in the lawsuit, Paxton contends that the order violated an agreement to work with the state to “address shared immigration enforcement concerns.”

The agreement Paxton refers to was one made with the Trump administration, not the Biden administration. It likely isn’t legally binding. Joe Biden campaigned on open borders, ending deportations, and bringing a halt to successful Trump policies like the Remain in Mexico agreement at the southern border. Biden sits comfortably in Washington and with a sweep of his pen signs an executive order that creates immediate chaos at the border, just to pander to Hispanic voters. It’s raw politics at the expense of Texas taxpayers. Texas Democrats released a statement using the usual words of “hatred” against migrants instead of supporting U.S. immigration law and standing up for the sovereignty of our borders.


Gilberto Hinojosa, the Texas Democratic Party chair, called Paxton an “embarrassment” to Texas and the office of state attorney general.

“The amount of hatred towards migrant families by Republican leadership is something that never ceases to amaze me,” Hinojosa said in a news release. “Ken Paxton seems to have no problem with grossly wasting taxpayer money to score political points, even though Trump left office without doling out a pardon to the indicted attorney general.”

Pekoske makes a distinction between national security and border security. It’s a convenient way of dismissing the seriousness of large numbers of migrants breaching the southern border without going through the legal process. He includes all departments that work with illegal immigration matters, not just border patrol.

Pekoske announced interim policies — including a 100-day pause on certain deportations, starting by Friday — that will be in place while the department reviews immigration enforcement policies and practices.

Pekoske’s memo ordered DHS’ chief of staff to review policies during the 100 days and return with any recommended revisions. Pending completion of the review, and starting Feb. 1, immigrants in three priority-based categories will be eligible for deportation: national security, border security and public safety.

National security includes people who “have engaged in or are suspected of terrorism or espionage,” while border security is people who were not in the country before Nov. 1.

Pekoske noted that the memo is departmentwide, meaning it applies to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and Citizenship and Immigration Services agencies.


Governor Abbott is ready to push back on the Biden administration over blanket amnesty and enforcement of immigration laws. When he was Texas Attorney General, before he was elected governor, he regularly sued the Obama administration for its overreaches. Paxton is following in his footsteps.

Texas Democrats like to point to the fact that Paxton has plenty of his own legal problems. That is true but as long as he is in office, he shows no indication of slowing down on doing his job. Biden’s executive order went into effect on Friday.

The legal question pending is whether or not an agreement made between Texas and the Trump administration’s Homeland Security Department, signed shortly before Biden took office, is legally enforceable now. Paxton asked U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton (a Trump appointee) to issue a temporary restraining order on the deportation freeze. Biden administration lawyers question the agreement’s legality and enforceability. They contend that one administration’s immigration actions can’t bind the next administration’s actions in a single state. “What Texas is trying to do is to remove the discretion provided by Congress and (the Constitution) and give the power of immigration enforcement to the state of Texas,” administration lawyer Adam Kischner told Tipton.


Tipton says he will issue a ruling as quickly as possible.

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John Stossel 5:30 PM | July 13, 2024