A Texas judge has extended a temporary restraining order against President Joe Biden’s 100-day freeze on new deportations.
According to The Hill, Judge Drew Tipton of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas extended an earlier restraining order against Biden’s decree. In his decision, Tipton said that preventing federal agencies from removing undocumented immigrants could cause “irreparable” harm to states along the border.
“The Court may ultimately be persuaded by the Defendants’ arguments, but any harm they might incur between now and then does not outweigh the potential for irreparable harm to Texas,” Tipton wrote.
Tipton’s initial order, adds The Hill, was slated to end earlier this week.
The lawsuit was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Although President Biden explicitly permitted certain deportations to continue—including those of organized crime figures and terrorists—Paxton alleged that any freeze or curtailment of the Department of Homeland Security’s deportation authorities could have grave consequences.
“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,” Paxton said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “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.”
Paxton argued, in broad, that President Biden and his administration lack authority to halt deportations without first consulting Texas.
Paxton’s claim is based on a last-minute pact between the outgoing Trump administration and Texas. As LegalReader’s reported before, it appears that the deal was intended as an impediment to Biden’s probably policies.
The Hill notes that the American Civil Liberties Union has interceded in the lawsuit on behalf of two undocumented immigrants.
In its own court filings, the ACLU said that Texas—a single state—should not have the unilateral power to curb federal policy.
“The implications of this suit are sweeping: Texas claims an effective veto on national immigration policy, and it seeks to upend a new Administration’s first steps towards setting national immigration enforcement policy just days after it took office,” the ACLU wrote in a January brief. “But this is not just a fight among governments over sovereign power; this case involves serious human stakes.”
Paxton’s lawsuit has had real-world consequences. The Texas Tribune recounts how one woman—a survivor of the anti-immigrant El Paso shootings—was deported after being detained in a routine traffic stop.
An attorney for the anonymous woman says that her deportation was a result of Paxton’s lawsuit and subsequent restraining orders.