Texas threatens to sue Biden administration for 'illegal' deportation pause

The state of Texas is planning to sue the Biden administration after President Joe Biden signed an executive order halting deportations of illegal immigrants for a period of 100 days.

"President Biden is trying to halt deportations of illegal aliens who already have a final order of removal from the U.S.," Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted Friday. "This abandons the obligation to enforce federal immigration laws. Texas is fighting this attempt to grant blanket amnesty."

Abbott shared a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton addressed to acting Secretary of Homeland Security David Pekoske announcing that the state will sue the Biden administration for its "illegal deportation freeze." The Department of Homeland Security, acting on Biden's orders, on Wednesday paused removals for some non-citizens ordered deported as the agency conducts a "review and reset" of its immigration enforcement policies.

"The pause 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," the agency said in a statement.

Biden's deportation pause is the fulfillment of a campaign promise to radically reverse former President Donald Trump's immigration policies. On his first day in office, President Biden called on Congress to take up legislation granting amnesty with a path to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants.

Until Congress is able to consider legislation, Biden has vowed to take executive action. Including the deportation pause, Biden took 17 executive actions on his first day in office fulfilling various campaign promises to reverse Trump's policies on climate change, immigration, COVID-19 response management, and more.

The DHS memoranda announcing the new deportation policy lists some individuals who will not be protected from deportation, including those who are suspected of terrorism or espionage, anyone not physically present in the United States before Nov. 1, 2020, and for individual cases where the acting director of ICE and the general counsel make an individual determination that a non-citizen should be removed.

Paxton's letter characterizes this "blanket halt on nearly all deportations of illegal aliens" as a "complete abdication of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) obligation to enforce federal immigration law."

He argues that allowing the executive order to go unchallenged could "allow the Biden Administration to grant blanket amnesty to the vast majority of the illegal aliens in this country with the stroke of a pen and without congressional approval."

"Border states like Texas pay a particularly high price when the federal government fails to faithfully execute our country's immigration laws," Paxton wrote. "Your attempted halt on almost all deportations would increase the cost to Texas caused by illegal immigration."

Paxton demanded that the federal government rescind the order halting deportations or else the state would sue in court for relief.

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