EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Just days into Biden’s presidency, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the administration for what he calls an “illegal deportation freeze.”
The Department of Homeland Security implemented a 100-day pause on deportations for some undocumented immigrants as part of Biden’s executive orders.
Paxton immediately threatened to sue on Thursday night and filed the complaint on Friday. However, it’s the rhetoric used within the lawsuit and social media that has some local elected officials upset.
“In an official press release and social media post, the attorney general says ‘I put Americans and Texans first, not dangerous aliens who must be deported.’ That’s completely off base on what this executive order does,” said State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso.
The new rules are temporary and are to be in place for no longer than 100 days and focus on deporting migrants who are a threat to national security, linked to terrorism or espionage, were recently incarcerated, and those apprehended without proper documentation in border regions.
Additionally, the new directives won’t apply to those on the Southwest border as long as Title 42 travel restrictions — imposed by the Trump administration to stop the spread of COVID-19 — are still the law of the land.
“This lawsuit is right in line with prior fear mongering about the border about immigrants,” Moody said.
Moody also said while the term “illegal aliens” may be used by government officials, it could cause harm to those coming from other countries.
“It is incumbent on us, whether we are elected officials or not to call out this type of rhetoric and say this is unacceptable,” Moody said. “If we have a difference in opinion on immigration policies, that’s fine, we can have that but you don’t have to do that in a way that demonizes people and separates us from each other.”
In a statement, Paxton said:
In one of its first of dozens of steps that harm Texas and the nation as a whole, the Biden administration directed DHS to violate federal immigration law and breach an agreement to consult and cooperate with Texas on that law. Our state defends the largest section of the southern border in the nation. Failure to properly enforce the law will directly and immediately endanger our citizens and law enforcement personnel. DHS itself has previously acknowledged that such a freeze on deportations will cause concrete injuries to Texas. I am confident that these unlawful and perilous actions cannot stand. The rule of law and security of our citizens must prevail.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
State Sen. Cesar Blanco echoed Moody’s perspective on rhetoric.
“Words matter, rhetoric is dangerous, especially added towards immigrants we’ve seen the kind of hate that brings communities such as the individual who drove out here to El Paso to commit mass murder at Walmart, he said similar things,” Blanco said.
Local elected officials said they didn’t think the lawsuit had the legs to make it very far in the courts. Former state Sen. Jose Rodriguez called it “a waste of taxpayers dollars.”
“I think his credibility is not in a good place right now and my hope this lawsuit doesn’t go any further,” Blanco said.