(Austin, Texas) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton continues to use his white supremacist agenda to attack immigrants. In the latest of his frivolous lawsuits, Paxton has sued the Biden- Harris Administration, on behalf of Texas and Louisiana, alleging that the administration’s interim immigration enforcement priorities are unlawful. The Biden-Harris administration has issued interim immigration enforcement policies that direct Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents to focus arrests, detention, and deportation on certain “priority” individuals, rather than all immigrants. Texas and Louisiana have sued to try to force the government back into Trump-era immigration policies to detain and deport people en masse. The lawsuit is pending before Judge Drew Tipton of the Southern District of Texas, a Trump appointee and the same judge who blocked the administration’s 100-day deportation moratorium earlier this year (in a lawsuit also brought by Texas). If successful, the lawsuit would further entrench ICE’s impunity and enable the agency to continue its harsh enforcement practices which target Black and Brown immigrant communities, resulting in the thousands of people being detained, deported and torn from their families and communities.
Said Anita Gupta, Staff Attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:
“This lawsuit is a farce and was filed solely to gain political points with white supremacists seeking to demonize immigrants. The lawsuit was intentionally filed before the same federal judge who blocked the 100-day deportation moratorium, so a pattern of hate and racism is clear. Texas has no legal authority to claim veto power over federal immigration policy. Paxton’s game of filing frivolous lawsuits is just a ploy to further his far right agenda. We will continue to call out racist attacks, and demand dignity and protection for our immigrant communities.”
Said Lissette Castillo, Organizer at Detention Watch Network:
“At a time when the Governor of Texas should be focusing on the dire issues Texan communities are facing, including the shameful record on COVID-19 deaths and transmission rates amidst a crumbling health infrastructure, Governor Abbott and AG Paxton are once again choosing instead to misrepresent Texan communities and resources to advance an anti-immigrant agenda. As the state that detains the largest number of immigrants year after year, Texas should be investing its time and energy in divesting from a fatal carceral economy, not doubling down on it."
Said Edna Yang, Co-Executive Director, American Gateways
“The latest lawsuit is frivolous and political in nature. It is simply a means by which to unfairly target the Black and Brown communities which have suffered over-policing and mass incarceration for decades. This lawsuit does not provide for increased public safety for Texans. If AG Paxton was truly concerned about the safety of our Texas communities, he would focus his energy on addressing issues of racial inequity, over-policing and violence against communities of color, and the forced separation of families based on immigration status.”
Said Jordan Buckley, Communications Director of Mano Amiga
“AG Paxton embodies the hypocrisy of wealth-based detention, focusing his monstrous intent on harming foreign-born Texans by any means he can. Where AG Paxton follows "law and order" and wants punishment for BIPOC people, he doesn't hold himself accountable for the harm he has done and has been indicted for. Unfortunately, Judge Tipton has already abetted this abjectly racist agenda. We hope Judge Tipton will finally see Paxton’s actions for the sham they are.”
Florida has filed a similar lawsuit which is pending, and Texas and Missouri filed another federal lawsuit earlier this week seeking to reinstate the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy.