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Federal judge sides with Texas, blocks Biden deportation freeze nationwide

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Bethany Blankley | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – A federal judge ruled in favor of the state of Texas Tuesday, issuing a temporary restraining order blocking an executive order issued by President Joe Biden seeking to halt existing U.S. immigration and deportation policy for 100 days.

U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued the ruling that blocks Biden’s order nationwide for 14 days.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Victoria Division.

“On its first day in office, the Biden Administration cast aside congressionally enacted immigration laws and suspended the removal of illegal aliens whose removal is compelled by those very laws," the lawsuit states. "In doing so, it ignored basic constitutional principles and violated its written pledge to work cooperatively with the State of Texas to address shared immigration enforcement concerns.”

Upon hearing the ruling, Paxton tweeted, “Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Admin. AND WE WON.

“Within 6 days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze. *This* was a seditious left-wing insurrection,” the Republican continued. “And my team and I stopped it.”

David Pekoske, the acting Homeland Security secretary, on Jan. 20 directed “an immediate pause on removals of any noncitizen with a final order of removal (except as noted below) for 100 days.” The exceptions include anyone perceived as a threat to national security.

According to Texas’ lawsuit, Pekoske’s memo affects nearly all illegal immigrants with pending deportations “including those whose removal was ordered following a full and fair hearing and those who are not entitled – and do not claim to be entitled – to further immigration benefits.”

Paxton argued Pekoske’s moratorium also violated an agreement Texas signed with the Department of Homeland Security requiring the agency to consult with Texas and other states before taking any action to “reduce, redirect, reprioritize, relax, or in any way modify immigration enforcement.”

The Biden administration argued in court that the agreement was unenforceable because “an outgoing administration cannot contract away that power for an incoming administration.”

Tipton said in his ruling that his decision was not based on the agreement Paxton mentioned but on federal law.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) construction on the U.S.-Mexico border wall also had been ordered to be stopped by the end of day Tuesday, according to Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, whose district is located along the border.

“I received notification that in accordance with President [Joe] Biden’s executive order, all CBP contractors have now been formally notified by CBP Procurement to pause construction activities on CBP self-executed projects,” Cuellar said in a statement. “While CBP cannot speak on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it is expected that DOD and USACE are undertaking parallel action on CBP-funded border wall projects that they are overseeing.”

Halting construction of the border wall, Cueller said, was “a promising step … [to] undo the damage that borderlands have experienced these past four years,” and that he remained “steadfast in [his] commitment to working with the new administration until every border wall contract is terminated and all construction crews leave our border communities.”

Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan told Breitbart News that Biden’s policies made America less safe and the agency had provided the new administration with data that the wall worked to deter criminal activity.

“With the stroke of a pen, President Biden made this country less safe,” Morgan said. “It’s pure politics over public safety.”

The Biden administration plans to appeal the ruling and Texas plans to continue to fight against changes to immigration policies.