Corpus Christi, TX – A federal judge blocked the 100-day deportation “pause” that was part of the slew of executive orders signed by President Joe Biden on Jan. 20 within hours of being sworn into office.
U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton granted the temporary restraining order that had been requested by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday and said that the state had demonstrated a likelihood of facing immediate harm from pausing deportations, The Washington Post reported.
The court order will be in effect for 14 days during which time Tipton will consider the broader motion by the state that called the moratorium on deportations unconstitutional, the Texas Tribune reported.
“VICTORY,” the attorney general tweeted on Jan. 26. “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. And my team and I stopped it.”
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. And my team and I stopped it.
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) January 26, 2021
Paxton’s lawsuit claimed that Biden’s pause violated an agreement between Texas and the Department of Homeland Security.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Paxton signed an agreement with Ken Cuccinelli, who was then Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in early January, The Washington Post reported.
“The federal government has plenary power over the enforcement of federal immigration law, and an outgoing administration cannot contract away that power for an incoming administration,” federal attorneys argued.
The Biden administration has said it doesn’t consider that agreement binding, but Tipton said his ruling wasn’t based on those contracts, The Washington Post reported.
“The issues implicated by that agreement are of such gravity and constitutional import that they require further development of the record and briefing prior to addressing the merits,” the judge wrote.
In his federal court filing, Paxton argued that the deportation pause would cause Texas financial harm because of the costs for health care and education of the undocumented immigrants being released into the state, the Texas Tribune reported.
Biden’s deportation pause was meant to give U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a chance to overhaul its enforcement policies under the new administration that have been under intense criticism from Democrats, The Washington Post reported.
Conservatives were furious that Biden’s pause would prevent ICE from deporting most criminal illegal immigrants with violent felony convictions.
Paxton also expressed the concern that the moratorium would inspire others to come to Texas, the Texas Tribune reported.
“Texas argues that ‘the categorical refusal to remove aliens ordered removable will encourage additional illegal immigration into Texas,’ thereby exacerbating its public service costs,” he wrote. “Such injury is not, as a legal matter, purely speculative. The Court finds that the foregoing establishes a substantial risk of imminent and irreparable harm to Texas.”
Tipton, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, agreed with Texas’ attorney general, The Washington Post reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas filed a brief that urged Tipton to deny the restraining order and then released a statement after the judge ordered it, the Texas Tribune reported.
Kate Huddleston, attorney for the ACLU of Texas, argued that Biden’s pause was legal.
“Paxton sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by attempting to baselessly suppress votes; now he is attempting to force the Biden administration to follow Trump’s xenophobic policies,” Huddleston wrote. “The administration’s pause on deportations is not only lawful but necessary to ensure that families are not separated and people are not returned to danger needlessly while the new administration reviews past actions.”
Huddleston also said that the Biden administration had said on Friday that if the restraining order was granted by Tipton, there was a likelihood they would ask for an immediate stop from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Texas Tribune reported.
Tipton specifically said that the restraining order applied nationwide, but said he might narrow his ruling, The Washington Post reported.
“The Court notes that the scope of this injunction is something it is willing to revisit after the parties fully brief and argue the issue for purposes of the upcoming motion for preliminary injunction,” the judge wrote. “Though the scope of this [temporary restraining order] is broad, it is not necessarily permanent.”