Texas and Louisiana are suing the Biden administration, alleging Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are illegally not taking custody of inmates subject to mandatory removal from the United States at the end of their prison sentences.
“The President’s refusal to enforce the law only worsens an already dire border crisis,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said of the lawsuit. “Law and order must prevail; dangerous and violent criminal aliens must not be allowed to roam free in our communities.”
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, accuses ICE agents of rescinding detainers, tools that allow states to hold inmates past the end of their sentences so that ICE can take custody of illegal immigrants subject to removal from the U.S.
Louisiana and Texas argue that the Biden administration has “disregarded non-discretionary legal duties” by declining to take custody of illegal immigrants with final orders of removal, or who are convicted of crimes of moral turpitude or drug offenses, as required by federal law and stipulated in federal agreements with each state. The agreements stipulate that Louisiana and Texas are entitled to a 180-day consultation period before changes to immigration policies take effect.
The states cite two memoranda, one issued by the Department of Homeland Security on the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the other issued by ICE on Feb. 18. The lawsuit argues those memoranda have led immigration officials to rescind detainer requests and not to issue detainers for individuals subject to mandatory removal. Those memos, the suit alleges, have led to “dangerous criminal aliens being released into local communities.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a scathing statement in coordination with the lawsuit, accusing the Biden administration of “exacerbating an unprecedented border crisis.”
“By failing to take custody of criminal aliens and giving no explanation for this reckless policy change, the Biden Administration is demonstrating a blatant disregard for Texans’ and Americans’ safety,” Paxton said. “Law and order must be immediately upheld and enforced to ensure the safety of our communities. Dangerous and violent illegal aliens must be removed from our communities as required by federal law.”
Due to the ongoing nature of the suit, DHS declined to comment on the matter to the Washington Examiner.
Texas and Louisiana are requesting a preliminary injunction and an order requiring DHS to take custody of illegal immigrants who are subject to deportation by federal statute.
This is not the first immigration-related lawsuit that the Biden administration has faced in its first 100 days. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against an executive order issued by Biden that forbid deportations for his first 100 days in office after Texas argued that it would cause “irreparable harm” to the state.
As of Monday, there were 15,193 unaccompanied minors in Health and Human Services custody and 4,231 children in Customs and Border Protection custody. Southern border crossings were at their highest levels since 2006 in March, with more than 171,000 migrants taken into custody at the border, an escalation from the numbers released for February, when 100,000 migrants were taken into federal custody.
HHS and DHS are struggling to cope with the influx. A temporary facility in Donna, Texas, that has a capacity of 250 was holding 5,700 people in late March. To relieve overcrowding, HHS has requisitioned space at convention centers in San Diego and Long Beach, California, and has coordinated with the Pentagon to use military bases to house unaccompanied minors.
Author: Carly Ortiz-lytle