(The Center Square) – Texas was the first state to sue the Biden administration – just two days after Inauguration Day – and hasn’t stopped.
This week, Texas filed its seventh and eighth lawsuits against the federal government under President Joe Biden. Five lawsuits pertain to immigration policy and three to executive orders impacting the oil and gas industry.
On April 23, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a 10-state coalition suing the Biden administration over another executive order issued, which establishes a “working group” of federal bureaucrats charged with calculating the “social costs” of certain emissions.
“The use of these values will result in the most expansive and expensive environmental regulatory initiative in history and affects virtually every federal agency. These estimates will be used to fundamentally transform the entire regulatory structure of the federal government, as well as the way Texas conducts its business and Texans manage their lives,” Paxton said in a statement. “This puffed-up Executive Order was not approved by Congress or the American people, and it flies in the face of the Founders’ vision of state sovereignty and the free market. This is a dangerous act of overreach led by President Biden’s unaccountable environmentalists.”
Federal agencies are required under the order to immediately begin applying the social costs established by the working group. The lawsuit seeks “to prevent yet another act of executive overreach from the Biden Administration that will both eliminate thousands of jobs and impose serious regulatory burdens on Americans, including regulating and taxing use of generators, dishwashers, lawnmowers, firewood, and many more aspects of everyday life,” Paxton’s office says.
On April 22, Paxton sued the Biden administration over its immigration policies that he argues have spread the coronavirus among detained illegal immigrants and violates federal law.
Paxton argues the Biden administration “has threatened the health of Texans without justification or explanation of their actions. While abandoning their own standards, they have failed to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act’s backstop, a longstanding federal law requiring the detention of aliens arriving in the United States who might transmit diseases of public health significance.”
Paxton says Biden’s “outright disregard of the public health crisis in Texas by welcoming and encouraging mass gatherings of illegal aliens is hypocritical and dangerous.”
The first lawsuit Texas filed on Jan. 22 sought to block one of Biden’s first executive orders that imposed a 100-day moratorium on the deportation of illegal immigrants. The order was blocked by a federal judge.
“In one of its first of dozens of steps that harm Texas and the nation as a whole, the Biden administration directed DHS to violate federal immigration law and breach an agreement to consult and cooperate with Texas on that law. Our state defends the largest section of the southern border in the nation. Failure to properly enforce the law will directly and immediately endanger our citizens and law enforcement personnel,” Paxton warned.
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton granted Texas’ request, issuing a preliminary injunction against the policy, which the judge said was “arbitrary and capricious” because it violated administrative laws and procedures. He later extended the moratorium twice.
“The Court’s decision to stop the Biden Administration from casting aside congressionally enacted immigration laws is a much-needed remedy for DHS’s unlawful action. A near-complete suspension of deportations would only serve to endanger Texans and undermine federal law,” Paxton said. “Blatantly illegal security threats cannot be allowed to stand, and the rule of law must be upheld.”
Tipton said Texas had “a substantial likelihood of success” on at least two of its claims – that federal law requires authorities to remove immigrants with final deportation orders on their records and that the Biden administration acted recklessly in issuing the moratorium.
In its second lawsuit filed on March 17, Texas and Montana led a multistate complaint against the Biden administration for revoking the 2019 Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The lawsuit alleges that Biden does not have the unilateral authority to change energy policy created by Congress. The power to regulate interstate and international commerce, including granting or rejecting permits for oil pipelines that cross an international border, falls under the power of Congress – not the president. The lawsuit is currently pending in U.S. District Court in Galveston, Texas.
Texas also joined a lawsuit filed by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry on March 24. In this multi-state complaint, Landry led states in suing Biden over another executive order he issued to halt new oil and natural gas leases on federal property. The states argue Biden’s order violates federal law. The case is pending in U.S. District Court in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Texas also filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court on March 28, along with 13 states, asking the court to defend the public charge rule in an existing case. Public charge provisions, which have been part of U.S. immigration law since at least 1882, require immigrants to prove they are able to support themselves financially prior to admittance to the U.S. The Supreme Court stayed a lower court’s injunction against the rule in January 2020, allowing it to be enforced, pending disposition of the government’s appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
On April 6, Texas and Louisiana again sued the Biden administration over Biden’s “refusal to take custody of criminal illegal aliens, including dangerous felons and drug manufacturers, as required by federal law.” The lawsuit alleges that instead of apprehending criminals who enter the U.S. illegally, many of whom are convicted felons, gang members, sex offenders, and traffickers of drugs and people, the Biden administration is releasing them into the population. Texas is asking the court to halt the current policy and enforce existing law. The case is pending in U.S. District Court in Victoria, Texas.
The sixth lawsuit Texas filed was on April 13, this time with Missouri. The states sued Biden hoping to reinstate a Trump-era rule that restricts the ability of potential immigrants from remaining in the U.S. if they traveled through Mexico from another country. Paxton argues that by ending Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols, which were launched in early 2019, Biden ushered in an ongoing surge at the border, severely straining federal immigration resources.
“Dangerous criminals are taking advantage of the lapse in law enforcement and it’s resulting in human trafficking, smuggling, a plethora of violent crimes, and a massive, unprecedented burden on state and federal programs for which taxpayers must foot the bill,” Paxton said. “We cannot allow this lawlessness to destroy our communities any longer.” The lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas.