Texas A.G. gets a legal assist from Trump's immigration hawk in lawsuit over COVID-19 risk at border

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

Lawsuit number seven has been filed by Texas Attorney General against the Biden administration. This one is over the increased risk of COVID-19 to the state produced by the surge of illegal migrants at the southern border. The crisis at the border isn’t just a humanitarian crisis, it is also a public health crisis as the coronavirus pandemic is still with us.

Texas was the first state to sue the Biden administration. That lawsuit was over Biden’s executive order to put a freeze on deportations of illegal immigrants. Additional lawsuits followed the first one. The lawsuits included one which demands that Biden reinstate Trump’s Remain-in-Mexico policy. That agreement with Mexico was very successful in easing the flood of migrants entering Texas, overwhelming border patrol personnel and law enforcement officers. Rest assured, Paxton will be a frequent filer.

COVID-19 is a threat at overcrowded border facilities and intake shelters. Large numbers of migrants are being released and put on buses to other locations in Texas or out of state though they test positive for COVID-19. Border patrol agents have been unable to keep up with the heavy demand for testing illegal migrants as they enter the United States.

“President Biden’s outright disregard of the public health crisis in Texas by welcoming and encouraging mass gatherings of illegal aliens is hypocritical and dangerous. This reckless policy change stifles the reopening of the Texas economy at a time when businesses need it the most and when our children need to get back to in-person learning as soon as possible,” Paxton said in a statement announcing the legal challenge.”Instead of using the CDC’s authority to prevent the introduction of covered aliens into the United States during a pandemic, Defendants have chosen to take courses of action that have resulted in the release of tens of thousands of aliens into Texas and the United States,” the lawsuit says. “Absent this Court’s intervention, such releases will continue for the foreseeable future.”

It cites the administration’s moves not to apply Title 42 — a Trump-era order that allows Border Patrol to quickly expel migrants, often within hours — to unaccompanied children and some migrant families.

The complaint also accuses the administration of failing to enforce a longstanding federal law requiring that immigrants be detained if they transmit disease of public health significance — found in the Immigration and Nationality Act. It says that the administration allowing migrants in the country in such large numbers “results in significant harms to Texas and its citizens.”

“More Texans will be exposed to COVID-19, more Texans will contract COVID-19, more Texans will die from COVID-19, and Texas will incur significant costs in terms of healthcare and law enforcement resources,” it says.

Speaking of Trump administration immigration policies, a senior adviser to the former president is working with Paxton on this lawsuit. Stephen Miller formed America First Legal ” as a counterweight to the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union and to push back against unlawful or overreaching federal policies.” The group will serve as outside counsel.

“We are deeply honored to work alongside the State of Texas to protect the health and safety of all Texans and Americans against the outrageous, illegal conduct of the Biden Administration,” Miller said in a statement.

“The Biden Administration is flagrantly and egregiously violating federal law, its own public health rules, the Administrative Procedure Act, and Title 42. By releasing unvaccinated and potentially coronavirus-infected aliens en masse into the country — aliens who have been smuggled and housed in extremely unsanitary conditions — the Biden administration is sabotaging the public health of Texans and all Americans,” he said.

Miller said the Biden administration’s policies have led to overwhelmed hospitals, depleted health resources, and a delay in reaching immunity thresholds.

Texas has retained the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) to represent the state in the suit. That group also issued a statement on the lawsuit.

“To reopen our country and restart our economy, we need the pandemic to get better, not worse,” said Christopher Hajec, director of litigation for IRLI. “But amazingly, the administration did not even consider the economic effects of its actions on Texas or anywhere else. That disregard of a highly relevant factor shows the administration’s recklessness—and it is also, in and of itself, a violation of law.”

Hajec isn’t wrong. Biden took out his pen on the first day of his administration and made a point of undoing all that was going well in securing the southern border. He offered no plans as substitution, he just wanted to prove that he is the anti-Orange Man. It was reckless and a dereliction of his sworn duty to protect the country above all else. Migrants hoping to seek asylum at the border took Biden’s lack of leadership as an open invitation to flood the border. Chaos ensued.

Illegal immigration costs Texas taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The lawsuit brings in all of the federal agencies who are tasked with border security and illegal immigration.

Paxton said earlier this year that illegal aliens cost Texas taxpayers an estimated $855 million each year.

The legal complaint filed April 22 in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth names Biden, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as defendants.

Biden needs to admit his errors and reinstate policies and agreements that worked during the previous administration. The Remain-in-Mexico agreement is a good place to start.