The state of Texas sued the Biden administration on the same day a pause on deportations began for “certain noncitizens.”

The lawsuit, filed Friday in the Southern District of Texas, states in part, the Biden administration in going ahead and putting in place the pause on deportations for certain noncitizens has “ignored basic constitutional principles and violated its written pledge to work cooperatively with the State of Texas to address shared immigration enforcement concerns.”

The lawsuit refers to a pledge made by the Trump administration with Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Indiana, and Rockingham County, in North Carolina, last week — five days before President Joe Biden took office — that required DHS to provide 180-day written notice before enacting a immigration policy changes made by the Department of Homeland Security.

Valley native and associate law professor at the University of Denver, César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, who specializes in immigration, said the agreement is unprecedented in its structure.

“The biggest surprise about the agreement is the existence of the agreement,” García Hernández said. “This is the federal government handing over its ability to make policy to a small collection of states, four states, and one county in North Carolina.”

The 100-day moratorium on deportations memo for certain noncitizens was signed Wednesday — the same day Biden signed multiple immigration-related executive orders, including a pause on border wall construction funded by a Trump Feb. 2019 emergency declaration, and a robust plan for a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented persons.

In its filing against the government, it claims “when DHS fails to remove illegal aliens in compliance with federal law, Texas faces significant costs,” the court docent states.

García Hernández said the move to sign the agreements less than a week before Biden took office appears as an effort to hamstring the new administration.

In the temporary restraining order, the state requests the Court “either enter a TRO preventing (DHS) from implementing the January 20 Memorandum or postpone the memorandum’s effective date,” the docent states.

The filing additionally states the state has “already been harmed and faces additional immediate (harm) by the rushed implementation of the January 20 memorandum,” and asks the Court to declare Biden’s Jan. 20 memo unlawful, the court document states.

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, in reference to border wall construction, applauded the new administration’s pause on Department of Defense-funded construction, stating the emergency order used by Trump in 2019 to divert the funds was based on false rhetoric.

“I welcome President Biden’s pause on all wall construction projects to allow for a close review of the legality of the funding, contracting methods used and to determine the best way to redirect funds that were diverted by the prior Administration to fund wall construction,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

García Hernández said based on the executive orders, and the memo to pause deportations for now, the new administration appears to be taking immigration policy seriously.

“I think it’s rather significant and really surprising to me was the administration’s decision to pause deportations for 100 days. The president as a candidate said that he would do that and frankly, I did not think he would, and so I was surprised, to see that announcement,” García Hernández said.

“I was surprised to see it the very first evening of the administration — which suggests to me that they are taking immigration seriously and also taking seriously the promises on immigration that they made during the course of the campaign, which, of course, is not something that any of us take for granted.”


lzazueta@themonitor.com