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Wed Apr 7, 2021, 12:37 PM

Lawyers Say Texas AG Ken Paxton Admitted His State Violated the Constitution While Accusing Biden

Admin of Breaking Immigration Laws

Texas and Louisiana sued the Biden administration in federal court on Tuesday over a series of recent enforcement directives the administration handed down to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Legal experts immediately noticed some problems with the effort. Chief among those defects are a misunderstanding of federal law and an apparent admission by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) that immigrants’ constitutional rights are being violated in his state.

The lawsuit, filed by the elsewhere-indicted Lone Star State’s AG, complains that late February guidance from Acting ICE Director Tae Johnson both expanded and diminished enforcement priorities (depending on various sets of rotating factors) and thus led ICE to stop detaining immigrants convicted of minor felony offenses.

The Biden administration’s guidance calls for ICE to detain immigrants convicted of “aggravated felonies” with the intent to initiate deportation proceedings. (“Aggravated felonies” involve a broad suite of federal crimes when applied to people who are not U.S. citizens.) The guidance stands in contrast to the prior two administrations of Donald Trump and Barack Obama who targeted all undocumented immigrants and those with “significant misdemeanor” offenses, respectively.


Aaron Reichlin–Melnick, policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, noted a few severe defects with the reasoning of the Texas and Louisiana plaintiffs.


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