Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the federal government Friday in an effort to prevent the Biden administration from ending a Trump-era policy of rapidly expelling asylum-seekers at the border to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Victoria, argues that border security policies adopted by the federal government have created a “humanitarian and public safety crisis” on the U.S.-Mexico border and that ending the nation’s Title 42 authority will only compound the issue.
It also states that the Biden administration is ending the policy without allowing the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed change, a violation of the federal Administrative Procedure Act.
Paxton called President Joe Biden’s decision his “most consequential yet” related to the border and said he expects to see an increase in illegal border crossings as a result.
“Biden cannot make such sweeping decisions without going through the process required by federal law,” Paxton said in a statement.
Texas is the latest state to sue the Biden administration over ending Title 42. On Thursday, more than 20 states filed a separate lawsuit asking a federal judge in Louisiana to prevent the federal government from acting.
The Biden administration has come under fire from Republicans and some Democrats who have urged federal officials to keep the policy in place. The decision to end the policy ultimately rests with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Title 42 is a public health order issued in March 2020 that allows federal border agents to expel migrants to their home countries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in holding facilities, with some exceptions for unaccompanied children.
CDC officials said in early April they were on track to terminate Title 42 authority by May 23, a decision made in consultation with the Homeland Security Department.
Gov. Greg Abbott cited the Biden administration’s decision to end Title 42 as the reason for his order two weeks ago imposing extra inspection requirements on commercial vehicles entering Texas from Mexico — a decision that disrupted the nation’s supply chain and cost Texas roughly $470 million in goods and services every day the order was in effect, according to an estimate from the Perryman Group, a Waco economic research firm.
Abbott has since said creating that economic disruption was intentional because his ultimate goal was to force the governors of Mexican states bordering Texas to sign agreements pledging to impose security measures on their side of the border in preparation for the end of Title 42.
Abbott ended the inspections at all ports of entry a week ago, nine days after they began.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the Homeland Security Department has implemented a plan to prepare for the end of the policy, which includes deploying additional resources to account for an increase in people seeking asylum or entry at the border.
Asylum is a protection afforded to people already in the United States or once they arrive at a port of entry who meet the international law definition of a “refugee,” according to the American Immigration Council. To qualify, people must demonstrate that they cannot return to their home country due to past persecution or a fear of being persecuted in the future due to their race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social group.
Under Title 42, border agents can pick up migrants who cross between ports of entry, process and expel them within hours — without allowing them an opportunity to make a case for staying in the country legally, including seeking asylum.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Texas sues Biden administration to keep Title 42 immigration policy in place