The most corrupt state attorney general in America, the indicted Ken Paxton of Texas (see Texas AG Accused of Felonies By People Working in The AG’s Office), filed a lawsuit challenging President Biden’s 100-day pause on deportations, which took effect Friday.
The complaint cited in part an agreement signed between the Department of Homeland Security and Texas in the waning days of the Trump presidency that required the department to consult the state before changing or modifying policies. The DHS Has Signed Unusual Agreements With States That Could Hamper Biden’s Future Immigration Policies:
The Department of Homeland Security has signed agreements with multiple jurisdictions, including the state of Arizona, that appear to be an unusual effort to hamstring the incoming Biden administration’s goals to pause deportations, prioritize immigration arrests to only those with serious criminal backgrounds, and increase avenues to asylum.
The agreements would require the DHS to provide notice of immigration policy changes and allow the jurisdictions six months to review and submit comments before the agency moves forward with any of the proposed changes, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Just how the agreements will actually play out after Joe Biden takes office remains to be seen. Still, Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, told BuzzFeed News it’s clear that the Trump administration is “willing to do anything they possibly can to give their restrictive immigration policies staying power.”
“In its final days, the Trump administration is staying true to its strategy of trying anything and everything to implement its restrictive immigration agenda and give it staying power after their time in office,” she added.
Ken Cuccinelli, the acting second in command at DHS, signed the so-called Sanctuary for Americans First Enactment Agreement (SAFE) with Arizona, Louisiana, Indiana, and the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, this month, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News. The copies are also signed by representatives of the various jurisdictions.
“DHS recognizes that Agency, like other state agencies and municipalities, is directly and concretely affected by changes to DHS rules and policies that have the effect of easing, relaxing, or limiting immigration enforcement,” the agreement with Arizona begins. “Such changes can negatively impact Agency’s law enforcement needs and budgets, as well as its other important health, safety, and pecuniary interests of the State of Arizona.”
The agreement establishes a “binding and enforceable commitment between DHS and Agency” that the local jurisdiction will cooperate with DHS on border security and immigration enforcement in exchange for “DHS’s commitment to consult Agency and consider its views before taking any action, adopting or modifying a policy or procedure, or making any decision that could” reduce or relax immigration enforcement, decrease the number of ICE agents performing enforcement within the jurisdiction’s area, pause deportations, decrease immigration arrests, or increase or expand immigration benefits, among other policies.
The agreement continues by laying out that DHS will “prioritize the protection of the United States” by enforcing immigration laws in a way that prioritizes detention and results in arrests of “removable aliens.”
DHS is required to provide the local jurisdictions with 180 days of written notice of “the proposed action and an opportunity to consult and comment on the proposed action, before taking any such action” listed above.
If either of the parties does not “comply” with the obligations, they will be entitled to “injunctive relief,” according to the agreement. Either party can “request in writing” to terminate the agreement, but must provide 180 days of notice.
* * *
Pratheepan Gulasekaram, an immigration law professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law, said the agreement appears to be an attempt by the Trump administration to create a mechanism for the states to potentially sue in federal court over any policies that are changed or introduced by the incoming administration.
“This is just another last-ditch effort to try and ingrain a reckless hyper enforcement system, but completely unmoored from legal, constitutional ways of implementing policy,” he said.
Naureen Shah, senior advocacy and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, called the agreements “a transparent attempt by Trump officials to tie the Biden-Harris administration’s hands and preserve Trump’s grotesque immigration enforcement policy.”
Thanks to a Trump appointed judge – nothing suspect there! – this corrupt plan worked as intended today. Judge temporarily blocks Biden’s plan to halt deportations:
A federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked (.pdf) the Biden administration’s pause on deportations Tuesday, delivering a blow to one of the administration’s first immigration actions.
The early defeat, even if temporary, demonstrates the limits of President Joe Biden’s executive actions, which are expected to be challenged in court.
Tuesday’s order stems from a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenging the 100-day pause on deportations, which took effect Friday. The complaint cited in part an agreement signed between the Department of Homeland Security and Texas in the waning days of the Trump presidency that required the department to consult the state before changing or modifying policies.
Judge Drew Tipton of the Southern District of Texas, however, said the temporary restraining order was appropriate under the Administrative Procedure Act. Tipton blocked the Biden administration from executing its deportation pause for 14 days.
Tipton, appointed by President Donald Trump, also found that Texas could be harmed if the moratorium were to continue. “In light of the foregoing, the Court finds that the threat of injury to Texas outweighs any potential harm to Defendants and the public interest is served and protected by the issuance of this TRO,” he wrote.
The moratorium has only been in place for five days.
Biden’s first days in office have been marked by the release of his ambitious immigration agenda, but the ruling has whiplashed immigration attorneys, who just days earlier were trying to make sense of the new memo.
“In a word: unbelievable. Despite the limited nature of the TRO grant (a two week pause of the pause), the decision is breathtakingly wrong,” said Jeremy McKinney, an immigration attorney based in North Carolina and the American Immigration Lawyers Association first vice president.
“There have been so many changes, and so many rules, and there’s also Covid-19 and as a way to kind of bring some order into this chaos that the Trump administration had wrought, I think a pause on removals would’ve been a good policy,” said Claudia Cubas, an immigration attorney based in Washington, DC.
The Biden moratorium covers most deportations but excludes individuals who came to the US after November 1, are suspected of terrorism or espionage or pose a danger to national security, have waived rights to remain in the US or who’ve been determined removable by the acting director, according to an agency memo.
The White House, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately comment on the ruling.
Immediate lawsuit from Texas
Just as swiftly as the new memo took effect, so came a legal challenge from Paxton.
The Republican-led an attempt to void Biden’s Electoral College victory last month and will be a constant presence in federal court attempting to block the Biden administration’s policies on immigration.
Not if Paxton is finally prosecuted for the crimes for which he has been indicted and is currently under investigation. He should be disqualified from holding public office.
During the Trump administration, Paxton also led a lawsuit challenging the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation. The case is ongoing. He is also at the head of the latest lawsuit at the Supreme Court challenging the Affordable Care Act.
The case over the deportation pause has moved quickly.
On Monday, Tipton asked the Biden administration to clarify its moratorium after Texas submitted a Fox News report to the court that cited an internal email instructing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to “release them all, immediately.”
The Justice Department submitted the correspondence, which originated in the Houston field office, on Monday afternoon. An official appears to notify the workforce about the moratorium announced the previous day, telling them to “stop all removals” as of midnight, but that email is later followed by another official calling for the directive to be retracted immediately.
“Please direct your supervisors to follow the memorandum issued. Operational guidance is being developed and will be issued in the coming days,” the email stated, adding: “Any questions on removals, releases, and/or arrests that we cannot determine fit squarely into the directive will be forwarded up through me to HQ for further discussion and decisions.”
The Justice Department also told the court that some undocumented immigrants with removal orders had been released from custody, but as part of separate litigation relating to Covid-19. DHS has discretion in who it releases, the Justice Department added.
“There are going to be times that the Department of Homeland Security uses its discretion in manners that Texas disagrees… Texas has different views about immigration policy than the current administration,” said DOJ attorney Adam Kirschner.
The Justice Department is likely to appeal the ruling.
As I explained in the post above:
In Texas, the courts have been packed with right-wing activist judges, as has the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Paxton serves as lead counsel in the politically motivated lawsuits that national Republicans want filed in this pipeline of Texas courts packed with right-wing activist judges in order to get to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and eventually to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This is the corrupt “Texas pipeline” that has produced numerous Supreme Court cases.
This corrupt “Texas pipeline” needs to be torn out root and branch.