The Texas Attorney General’s Office has filed a lawsuit to block the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from allowing more asylum-seekers to remain in the United States.
The lawsuit (pdf), filed April 28, seeks a permanent ruling against an interim Biden administration rule that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says will “release even more illegal aliens into our country.”
The new federal immigration rules would allow asylum officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to screen applicants who are subject to expedited removal from the country. People who say they’re fearful of torture or prosecution in their country of origin can remain if they successfully pass a test.
Last month, DHS and the Department of Justice announced the change in screening procedures. Typically, U.S. immigration judges would carry out credible fear screenings for those seeking asylum.
But Paxton, in the April 28 lawsuit, said the policy shift violates the law and will invite more illegal immigrants into the United States because it limits the power of immigration judges.
“The Interim Rule transfers significant authority from immigration judges to asylum officers, grants those asylum officers significant additional authority, limits immigration judge review to denials of applications, and upends the entire adjudicatory system to the benefit of aliens,” Paxton wrote in the lawsuit.
Paxton, a Republican, submitted the latest lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. It’s the 11th immigration-related lawsuit that he’s filed against the Biden administration, which he has previously accused of abdicating its border security responsibility.
“I protested the proposed version of these rules back in October 2021, and, unsurprisingly, Biden found a way to make it worse, so I’m suing,” Paxton said in a statement. “The last thing Texas needs is for this Administration to make it easier for illegal aliens to enter the U.S. and obtain asylum through false claims and less oversight.”
Paxton said Texans “know what’s going to happen when the rule goes into effect in May 2022: wave upon wave of illegal aliens claiming ‘asylum.’”
“It’s true that our immigration system is extremely backlogged. But the answer is to secure the border, not overwhelm it even more by enacting cheap, easy incentives for illegal aliens to get into the United States,” he said.
Last month, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the Justice Department stated that the rule change should be implemented to hasten the processing of asylum claims, “ensuring that those who are eligible for asylum are granted relief quickly, and those who are not are promptly removed.”
In a statement at the time, Mayorkas also said the policy shift is something that was “long needed” and that “those who are not eligible will be rapidly removed.”
Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled against the White House’s plan to end the Title 42 health order that was established during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
Representatives for DHS didn’t respond by press time to a request for comment.