Texas is suing to stop the Biden administration from lifting Title 42, a pandemic-era health rule used to deport migrants

It’s the latest legal fight against the Biden administration’s immigration policies, including lawsuits that judges have struck down or changed.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration to block the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from lifting Title 42, a pandemic-era health order used by federal officials. of immigration to deport migrants, including asylum seekers, at the US-Mexico border.

Title 42, signed into law in March 2020 by the Trump administration, has been used 1.7 million times to deport migrants. Many of them have been deported multiple times after repeatedly trying to enter the United States.

The CDC has the authority to issue orders like Title 42 under the Public Health Services Act of 1944, which gives federal officials the power to prevent the entry of people and goods into the United States for limit the spread of communicable diseases. Part of the reason the agency plans to lift the order soon is that COVID-19 cases have declined and vaccinations have become widely available. The order is due to expire on May 23.

Paxton’s lawsuit argues that the Biden administration failed to follow the administrative procedural laws necessary to stop Title 42. The lawsuit adds that if the Biden administration follows through on lifting the order, Texas will have to pay for social services for migrants entering the country.

RELATED: What Did Greg Abbott’s Border Inspections Reveal? Oil leaks, flat tires and zero drugs

“The Biden administration’s disastrous open-border policies and its haphazard and haphazard response to COVID-19 have combined to create a humanitarian and public safety crisis on our southern border,” says the lawsuit, which was filed. in the Southern District of Texas in Victoria.

US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, said Thursday during a virtual event with the Council on Foreign Relations that health orders are not immigration policies.

“You are not using a health law to deal with a migration challenge. You use migration laws to deal with migration challenges. You cannot use health coverage to try to deal with a migration challenge,” he said.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials said they expect immigration authorities to have up to 18,000 encounters a day with immigrants at the border once Title 42 deportations take effect. ceased. The current average is around 6,000 encounters per day.

RELATED: Judge Dismisses Amended Texas Complaint Challenging End of COVID-19 Asylum Limits at U.S.-Mexico Border

Texas has led the legal fight against the Biden administration’s immigration policies. The state has filed numerous lawsuits that have led judges to overturn or change these policies, including the administration’s attempt to exempt the children in a separate lawsuit from deportation under Title 42. A judge Fort Worth Federal blocked the exemption.

The state has filed at least 20 other lawsuits in Texas federal courts, most led by Paxton, against the Biden administration for everything from federal mask mandates to the long-contested Keystone XL pipeline shutdown. Judges appointed by former President Donald Trump have heard 16 of the cases and ruled in favor of Texas in seven. The remaining nine are pending, as of last month.

The majority of those lawsuits were filed in courts in which the judge was appointed by Trump.

Title 42 has been a political lightning rod, with migrant advocates and many Democrats hammering the Biden administration for prosecuting it and claiming it delivers migrants into the hands of criminals in Mexican border towns. New York-based Human Rights First said it had identified nearly 10,000 cases of kidnapping, torture, rape and other violent attacks against people deported to Mexico under Title 42 as of March 15.

This story comes from our partners KHOU 11 News at The Texas Grandstanda nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that educates — and engages with — Texans about public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues.