A federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked an executive order issued by President Joe Biden to halt the deportation of certain immigrants for 100 days.
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, issued a temporary restraining order (pdf) on Jan. 26, blocking Biden’s policy nationwide for 14 days after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged it in court.
The order is a setback to the Biden administration, which has proposed far-reaching changes, including a plan to legalize about 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States illegally. Last week, the administration also issued an order that halts all U.S.–Mexico border wall construction.
During former President Donald Trump’s four years in office, Democrats and immigration activists often filed lawsuits in an attempt to halt Trump’s border wall construction, among other immigration provisions. With Paxton’s lawsuit, it’s likely that Republicans may do the same—especially with hundreds of judges appointed by Trump during his term in office.
Paxton hailed the victory, saying on Twitter, “Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Admin. AND WE WON.”
“Within 6 days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze. *This* was a seditious left-wing insurrection,” the Republican said. “And my team and I stopped it.
David Pekoske, acting Homeland Security secretary, issued a directive on Jan. 20 directing authorities to focus on national security and public safety threats as well as anyone who was taken into custody after entering the U.S. illegally after Nov. 1.
White House officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
The Biden administration argued in court that Paxton’s lawsuit is unenforceable because “an outgoing administration cannot contract away that power for an incoming administration.”
Pekoske had said the deportation freeze would allow the DHS to “ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces.” That includes the “immediate operational challenges at the southwest border in the midst of the most serious global public health crisis in a century,” he said.
“Throughout this interim period, DHS will continue to enforce our immigration laws.”
But last week, Paxton, a Republican, said the DHS failed to consult with Texas before making its immigration policy changes, as is required per an agreement between Texas and the agency.
“Border states like Texas pay a particularly high price when the federal government fails to faithfully execute our country’s immigration laws,” Paxton said last week, adding that an “attempted halt on almost all deportations would increase the cost to Texas caused by illegal immigration.”
Like Paxton, several former Trump DHS officials expressed alarm in recent days over Biden’s orders to rescind some immigration rules.
“With the stroke of a pen, President Biden made this country less safe,” former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan told Breitbart News on Jan. 23. “It’s pure politics over public safety.”
Separately, a Democratic member of Congress confirmed that border wall construction along the U.S.–Mexico border was to be halted on Jan. 26, per one of Biden’s orders.