Texas AG Ken Paxton's Lawsuit Is Stopping Biden's 100-Day Deportation Pause — for Now

Texas AG Ken Paxton has sued the Biden administration over deportation.
Texas AG Ken Paxton has sued the Biden administration over deportation. Gabriel Aponte / Getty Images
That didn’t take long.

Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration after it issued an executive action pausing certain deportations for 100 days. Days later, Paxton found reason to celebrate.

Tuesday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton — an appointee of former President Donald Trump — issued a temporary restraining order blocking the deportation moratorium, according to The Texas Tribune. The order is good for 14 days while the lawsuit’s merits are scrutinized.

Following the ruling, Paxton took to Twitter to gloat.

“VICTORY. Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Admin. AND WE WON,” he said in a tweet. “Within 6 days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze. *This* was a seditious left-wing insurrection. And my team and I stopped it.”

While some praised Paxton for his swift move, others pointed out that he failed to mention the restraining order is temporary.

“Can you really claim victory if the block is 14 days? #prematurePaxton,” wrote Twitter user @Meidas_G.
President Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to implement a 100-day deportation freeze. Trump, meanwhile, concretized his disdain for immigrants in an unfinished border wall, a project that Biden has also paused, according to Newsweek.

“Paxton is as heartless as he is useless." – Zack Malitz, Boot Texas Republicans PAC treasurer

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Paxton’s latest lawsuit isn’t surprising to professor Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, chair of the political science department at the University of North Texas. It doesn’t come as a shock that a conservative Texas government would disagree with the liberal Biden administration on immigration.

In addition to outlining legitimate policy concerns (the state does share a long border with Mexico, after all), Eshbaugh-Soha said the suit echoes Trump’s first days in office. Democrats launched lawsuits designed to stop that administration’s travel ban on majority Muslim countries.

Gov. Greg Abbott also filed myriad lawsuits against the federal government when he served as the state’s attorney general under the Obama administration, Eshbaugh-Soha said.

“I think the attorney general has more to do when there’s a Democrat in the White House; there’s more opportunities for them to challenge,” he said. “I expect that will continue whether it’s Paxton or some other Republican.”

Of course, the state’s Democrats were quick to criticize Paxton for his efforts to revive deportations. In a statement Friday, Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hinojosa said Republican leadership’s hatred for migrant families is something that “never ceases to amaze” him.

Hinojosa said the move is a “sad attempt” to keep Trump’s brand of conservatism alive, adding that Paxton is an embarrassment to the state.

In December, Paxton filed a lawsuit to subvert Biden’s win, a move that was largely scorned by legal experts. AP News also reported he’s under FBI investigation — and that’s not counting his other legal woes.

It’s long past time that the state had a real public servant in the attorney general’s office, said Zack Malitz, treasurer of the anti-Paxton Boot Texas Republicans Political Action Committee. If the attorney general doesn’t “resign in shame,” then Texans should vote him out in 2022, he said.

“Paxton is as heartless as he is useless,” Malitz said in a text. “Texans deserve better than a corrupt hack who uses the AG’s office as an instrument of mindless cruelty.”
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter