Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he is “daring” the Biden administration to a legal fight as the state challenges federal law and buses migrants to Washington, D.C.
The Texas AG had urged Gov. Greg Abbott to send the migrants to the capital.
Paxton says he and the state are poised for a legal showdown with the administration while acknowledging a 2012 Supreme Court case, Arizona v. the United States, which prevents states from making their own immigration policies.
In the Arizona v. United States case, the Supreme Court nullified a 2010 Arizona law that made it a state crime for undocumented immigrants lacking legal authorization to be in Arizona, allowed Arizona state police to arrest individuals with probable cause of a deportable offense, and preventing illegal migrants from getting a job in the state.
The court ruled that immigration matters should be left solely to the federal government.
Despite threats of legal action, Paxton and Abbott moved ahead with busing migrants to D.C. The first few groups of undocumented migrants arrived in the nation’s capital by bus as part of Abbott’s strategy to oppose the Biden administration’s decision to rescind Trump-era border policies.
“By busing migrants to Washington, D.C., the Biden Administration will be able to more immediately meet the needs of the people they are allowing to cross our border,” said Abbott, emphasizing that more busloads are en route.
Migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Columbia, and Venezuela were dropped off between the Capitol and Union Station as “part of Governor Abbott’s response to the Biden Administration’s decision to end Title 42 expulsions,” according to his office.
Paxton: New court review possible
Paxton suggested that the Supreme Court, now with a solid 6-3 conservative majority, may take a fresh look at the issue.
“I think that was wrongly decided,” said Paxton of the Arizona case. “So, I’d encourage the governor to force people to be sent out of our state and make the federal government sue us [and] take that back to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
In a recent interview, Paxton said that he wasn’t daring President Biden and his administration to sue Texas. Instead, “I’m daring them to follow federal law. But if they’re not going to, why should the governor not be able to protect his state?”
Republicans and some prominent Democrats are in an uproar after the Biden administration announced it would rescind the Title 42 health emergency on May 23. Title 42 was used to rapidly expel most migrants on the southern border because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The lifting of the health emergency is expected to increase the surge of migrants crossing into the U.S. and the already record numbers being encountered daily by the Border Patrol.
Following Abbott’s announcement to send flights and charter buses to Washington, D.C., the legal storm continues to brew as flights and charter buses to the capital bring the crisis to Biden’s doorstep.
The administration has dismissed Gov. Abbott’s announcement as a “publicity stunt,” saying that he doesn’t have the legal authority to make such a move.
“I think it’s pretty clear that this is a publicity stunt,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “I know that the governor of Texas, of any state, does not have the legal authority to compel anyone to get on a bus.”
“His own office admits that a migrant would need to be transported voluntarily, and he can’t compel them to because, again, enforcement of our country’s immigration laws lies with the federal government and not a state,” continued Psaki.
Texas AG Paxton disagrees, saying, “If you’re not going to let us deport these people — if we don’t have the authority to do that, and we’re in the middle of litigation over that right now to see if we do — then why not send them to the doorstep of Joe Biden and let him take care of the problem since he’s creating it.”