AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is again suing the Biden administration for what he says is encouraging the spread of COVID-19 at the southern border by allowing asylum-seeking migrants to gather in congregated care settings.
In a statement on Thursday, Paxton said the action “creates an undeniable crisis on our southern border.”
“This reckless policy change stifles the reopening of the Texas economy at a time when businesses need it the most and when our children need to get back to in-person learning as soon as possible,” Paxton said. “Law and order must be immediately upheld and enforced to ensure the safety of our communities and the reopening of the strongest economy of the country.”
The attorney general argues the administration is violating its own CDC rules and the Immigration and Nationality Act requiring the detention of arriving migrants who might transmit diseases of public health significance. He is asking a federal court to require the administration to expel migrants to Mexico under the Trump-era Title 42 rule.
“More Texans will be exposed to COVID-19, more Texans will contract COVID-19, more Texans will die from COVID-19, and Texas will incur significant costs in terms of health care and law enforcement resources,” the lawsuit reads.
Gene Hamilton, a former Trump administration immigration official at the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, is listed alongside Paxton as a lawyer in the case. Hamilton represents the America First Legal Foundation, a legal group founded by ex-Trump aide Stephen Miller, launched with the backing of Trump.
Paxton this month also sued the Biden administration in an attempt to restore a policy put in place by former President Donald Trump that forced migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed. Republicans have pointed to the end of the program as a reason for an influx of migrants at the border.
More than 70,000 migrants who were enrolled in that program were sent back to Mexico. Many were forced to live in sometimes dangerous and unsanitary migrant camps. In February, the Biden administration allowed asylum seekers enrolled in the program to cross into the U.S.
In addition to suing over a deportation moratorium, Paxton has also sued Biden over procedures that reduce deportations of undocumented migrants, and over the administration’s decision to rescind a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
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