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Texas attorney general challenges deportation freeze in first of promised lawsuits against Biden administration

  • January 23, 2021

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked a federal judge to block a new policy that pauses most deportations for the next 100 days.

The policy, which went into effect Friday, was announced by acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske as part of a comprehensive review of immigration enforcement, particularly amid the challenges posed by COVID-19.

The pause, Pekoske said in a Wednesday memo to immigration officials, will let the agency focus resources on its most pressing needs, in particular at the busy southern border “in the midst of the most serious global public health crisis in a century.”

But Paxton said the pause violates federal law, the U.S. Constitution and prior agreements between Texas and Pekoske’s agency.

It also carries a safety risk, he said.

RELATED:Biden administration to halt deportations for 100 days for some undocumented immigrants

I’ll see you in court, frequently

Biden was in office for only a few hours when Paxton vowed Wednesday to use the court system to challenge policy changes from a Democratic president who has vowed to overturn a raft of Trump-era priorities.

“I promise my fellow Texans and Americans that I will fight against the many unconstitutional and illegal actions that the new administration will take, challenge federal overreach that infringes on Texans’ rights, and serve as a major check against the administration’s lawlessness,” Paxton announced.

Friday’s lawsuit returns Paxton, a conservative Republican, to his role as a leading legal opponent of Democrats in the White House. His office filed 27 lawsuits seeking to kill policies initiated by then-President Barack Obama.

This is a developing story.

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