Texas, Louisiana sue Biden administration for ‘refusing’ to take criminal illegal immigrants

“Federal law requires Defendants to take custody of many criminal aliens, including those with final orders of removal, those convicted of drug offenses, and those convicted of crimes of moral turpitude,” the complaint says. “By refusing to take these criminal aliens into custody, Defendants have disregarded non-discretionary legal duties.”

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The complaints points to a DHS memo issued on Inauguration Day, which established “interim enforcement priorities” and focused immigration enforcement on three categories of migrants: those who pose a national security risk; those who entered the U.S. after Nov. 1; and those convicted of an “aggravated felony.”

The Biden administration has said such guidance, which was reflected in a separate memo later issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), will make the agency more efficient and does not exclude other illegal immigrants from deportation, critics have accused the administration of failing to prioritize other criminals.

The Biden administration also tried to impose a moratorium on most deportations, with the exception of those categories — but was blocked by a lawsuit from Texas

The complaint on Tuesday notes that the memo does not prioritize illegal immigrants with final orders of removal, those with drug convictions or those convicted of crimes of moral turpitude. It also claims that the memos have led federal immigration agencies to rescind detainers — requests that local jails hold onto illegal immigrants until ICE can detain them — or not to issue them at all.

“As a consequence, dangerous criminal aliens are being released into local communities,” the lawsuit says.

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The question of detainers was an issue during the Trump administration, when a number of states and cities became “sanctuary cities” and refused to honor ICE detainers. The administration attempted to crack down on such jurisdictions, claiming it led to the release of dangerous criminals into American communities.

In a statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton linked the new policies by the administration to the ongoing crisis at the border — which has seen a dramatic surge in migrant numbers in recent months.

“President Biden’s outright refusal to enforce the law is 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. 

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“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,” he said,

The lawsuit is the latest instance of pressure from Republican states on the Biden administration to take tougher action on illegal immigration and border security.

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., urged Biden on Monday to increase funding for ICE, and ignore calls to defund the agency from the left-wing of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich invited Vice President Kamala Harris to the border to see “firsthand” what is happening.

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