(The Center Square) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the Biden administration, alleging his directives and federal agencies are violating the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Public Health Service Act of 1944, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
The lawsuit alleges that President Joe Biden’s directives are facilitating and enabling dangerous criminals to enter the U.S. who are already convicted of felony offenses — and are then releasing them into the U.S. population.
“President Biden’s outright refusal to enforce the law is exacerbating an unprecedented border crisis,” Attorney General Paxton said in a statement. “By failing to take custody of criminal aliens and giving no explanation for this reckless policy change, the Biden Administration is demonstrating a blatant disregard for Texans’ and Americans’ safety.
“Law and order must be immediately upheld and enforced to ensure the safety of our communities. Dangerous and violent illegal aliens must be removed from our communities as required by federal law.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Fort Worth, Texas, against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas; Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tae Johnson; Troy Miller, a senior official performing the duties of the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Tracy Renaud, a senior official performing the duties of the Director of the U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services.
“The Biden administration is refusing to take custody of criminal aliens despite federal statutes requiring it to do so,” the complaint states. “Instead, Defendants have issued and implemented unlawful agency memoranda that allow criminal aliens already convicted of felony offenses to roam free in the United States. Such aliens belong in federal custody, as Congress required.”
Processes are already in place that federal and state law enforcement agents have followed pertaining to criminals who have illegally entered the U.S. Under existing law, when the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) incarcerates an illegal immigrant already convicted of a felony criminal offense, it informs U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Paxton’s office explains.
“If the criminal alien should be deported when their sentence expires, ICE can send TDCJ a detainer request,” through which TDJC holds the alleged criminal instead of releasing him or her into the community. “Following the Biden Administration’s memoranda, ICE rescinded several detainer requests, leaving TDCJ to either release criminals into the community or continue housing them at the expense of Texas taxpayers,” the 30-page complaint explains.
Paxton also raises concerns about criminals who have tested positive for the coronavirus and pose a health threat to the community at large.
“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,” Paxton said. “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. Law and order must be immediately upheld and enforced to ensure the safety of our communities and the reopening of the strongest economy of the country.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a rule aimed at preventing illegal immigrants potentially sick from the coronavirus from entering the U.S., which resulted in the Department of Homeland Security “rapidly expelling illegal aliens from the United States shortly after their unlawful entries.”
Instead of following CDC guidance, the Biden administration has “since hastily and unlawfully departed from their own rules for large numbers of illegal aliens and created an undeniable crisis on our southern border,” Paxton argues.
“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. Absent this court’s intervention, such releases will continue for the foreseeable future.”
The term “covered aliens,” according to the complaint, includes illegal immigrants that are detained in “a congregate, or shared, care setting” after violating immigration laws.
“The effects of this calculated irresponsibility will be devastating,” Paxton argues. “It is vital that we stop the administration here, and also block its other lawless policies that threaten the safety and well-being of Americans.”
This is the seventh lawsuit the state of Texas has filed against the Biden administration since January.
Paxton’s office estimates that illegal immigrants already cost Texas taxpayers an estimated $855 million each year.