As a humanitarian crisis continues on the U.S.-Mexico border, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit to stop President Joe Biden from discarding a pandemic-era deportation policy.
At issue is Title 42, a rule enacted by the Trump administration in March 2020, which authorizes federal officials to block immigrants and products at the border in an effort to limit the spread of communicable diseases. The rule—separate from the highly publicized “Remain in Mexico” policy—has been used 1.7 million times to deport migrants.
However, Biden recently announced plans to scrap Title 42, effective May 23.
“The Biden Administration has made one disastrous border decision after another, and I’ve sued him at every turn, but his new plan to rescind Title 42 is the most consequential yet,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Without Title 42, hundreds of thousands more illegal aliens will flood Texas every month—even more than have been pouring over in the past year.”
Indeed, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have said once Title 42 is removed, they expect authorities to have up to 18,000 daily encounters with immigrants at the border. The current average is about 6,000 encounters a day.
“[Biden’s] goal is simple: get as many illegals in this country as fast as possible without any concern for the potential criminal or terrorist background of those crossing the border,” Paxton continued. “This is allowing the cartels to maximize their profits and their effectiveness. Biden cannot make such sweeping decisions without going through the process required by federal law. He didn’t, so I’m suing.”
“The Biden Administration’s disastrous open border policies and its confusing and haphazard COVID-19 response have combined to create a humanitarian and public safety crisis on our southern border,” the lawsuit reads.
However, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra (who is named as a defendant in Paxton’s lawsuit) argued this week that health rules like Title 42 are not immigration rules.
“You don’t use a health law to deal with a migration challenge. You use migration laws to deal with migration challenges,” he said. “You can’t use the cover of health to try to deal with a migration challenge.”
The issue comes as Paxton has yet to respond to an inquiry on whether Texas could declare the crisis at the border an invasion, thus authorizing the state to deport illegals without interference from the federal government.
Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents apprehended a record-high number of illegal immigrants in 2021 and more in March than any month in the last 22 years, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. Since the day Biden was sworn in, agents have released more illegal entrants (836,000-plus) than the population of Seattle or Denver.