The suit is the latest in a series of legal challenges Paxton has brought against the Biden administration since January.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday sued the Biden administration over its new procedures for deporting undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes and asked a federal judge to compel the Department of Homeland Security to take them into custody before they are released by local or state law enforcement.
At issue in the suit filed jointly with the state of Louisiana are detainer requests that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sends to state and local law enforcement agencies. The requests inform the agencies that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement intends to take custody of an undocumented person upon completion of their sentence. The detainer asks local law enforcement personnel to hold the person for up to 48 hours so they can be transferred to ICE’s custody and begin the deportation process.
Law enforcement agencies are not required by the federal government to comply with a detainer, though a 2017 Texas law mandates state and local authorities to honor such requests. Advocates have questioned the constitutionality of detainers, which ask authorities to hold people after they’ve completed their sentences. ICE has also erroneously issued detainers for U.S. citizens.
Photo: Immigrants are escorted by border patrol agents near the Paso del Norte International Bridge in El Paso in 2019. In the suit, Attorney General Ken Paxton alleged that the Biden administration is “refusing to take custody” of immigrants with criminal records and allowing them to “roam free.” Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune