State AG Litigation Delivers Where Washington Fails on Border Security | Opinion

For two years, President Joe Biden has abdicated his duty to the American people. Lawlessness and chaos reign at the U.S.-Mexico border instead of our commander-in-chief. As a result, nearly 2.8 million illegal aliens entered the United States last year alone. That is roughly the equivalent of gaining another city the size of Houston or Chicago just from illegal immigration. Americans despair over both this crisis and the lack of urgency from Washington. But they should know that they can look elsewhere for help: state attorneys general.

In response to the alarming deterioration of our constitutional order under Biden, state attorneys general have been leading a systematic, targeted legal effort to oppose his most egregious abandonments of constitutional duty. And we have secured numerous key victories against him. Our powerful multi-state coalitions, which represent millions of Americans, serve as the crucial backstop to a cascade of illegal federal dictates.

I was encouraged to see the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives begin to investigate Biden's unmitigated failure at the border. Indeed, I sent the U.S. House Oversight and Judiciary Committees a letter commending them for their efforts, offering help, and highlighting what the states are already doing to secure the border.

Texas, for example, recently launched a coalition lawsuit of 20 states challenging a new Biden policy that violates federal law by abusing congressionally limited parole authority. Biden has effectively enacted a new visa program enabling 360,000 aliens to arrive every year. The administration insists this is necessary to reduce the flood of new arrivals at the border. But the ultimate effect is no different, aside from politically insulating Biden from the damaging optics of the overwhelmed border. The volume of new arrivals, and the costs imposed on struggling communities, will continue to increase.

This Biden program also obfuscates the scale of the crisis by surreptitiously pre-approving aliens for entry: They can fly directly to their chosen U.S. destinations, undeterred by the inconvenience of border processing. The fact that 20 states have sued over this illegal and damaging policy is a testament to the far-reaching effects of Biden's open-border agenda; as I often say, under Biden, every state is now a border state.

Another example of winning state attorney general litigation has been our battle against Biden's effort to impede ICE arrests and deportations with illegal, toothless enforcement "priorities." The Biden administration initially insisted its policy was necessary for "advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality," but later emphasized that its new, unlawful guidelines are necessary because resources are too limited. It's true that resources are limited, but that is a self-inflicted wound—and a pretext to excuse the administration's pernicious open-borders agenda.

Texas National Guard vehicles line the Rio
Texas National Guard vehicles line the Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border on January 08, 2023 in El Paso, Texas. John Moore/Getty Images

The exploitation of taxpayer resources to fund Biden's misplaced immigration priorities has been central to the pursuit of justice by state attorneys general. Some Americans may not be aware that the larger the border crisis becomes, the more public funding flows to an industry of so-called nonprofits, NGOs, and contractors to handle the logistics of settling millions of aliens—a troubling incentive my office is currently investigating.

Related, Texas joined 24 other states on an amicus brief in USA v. Hansen, which concerns a federal law that prohibits encouraging or inducing noncitizens to unlawfully enter or reside in the United States. All of us—state attorneys general representing half the Union—are alarmed by the tremendous economic, social, and fiscal burdens imposed by illegal immigration. Yet Biden's Department of Justice belittles our lawsuits as a "troubling trend," caviling that it is somehow ahistorical for states to sue over the intolerable costs imposed on taxpayers by mass illegal immigration.

Other winning border- and immigration-related lawsuits abound: State attorneys general halted the Biden administration's attempt to freeze all deportations, dismantle the highly successful Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" program, scrap Title 42, and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. And many other cases are pending: Texas has sued the administration over its destructive change to the "public charge" rule, its halted construction of the border wall, and its Central American Minors (CAM) program.

Crucially, both the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees are well-suited to assist us state attorneys general in stopping the invasion at our southern border. I had hoped recent hearings would yield more answers to inform solutions, but House Democrats had other ideas. For example, instead of endeavoring to determine the extent to which the Biden administration enables cartels to traffick children across the border and then conscript them into forced labor and gang activities, Democrats merely smeared their Republican colleagues. It's little wonder Democrats attempted to misdirect from Biden's failures; they do not want to confront the evils of open borders, including the horrific trend of illegal alien minors—entrusted to the protection of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement—delivered to dubious and exploitative "sponsors," with taxpayers footing the bill. We are outraged that Americans are forced to underwrite these policies, but Democrats appear unmoved.

As attorney general of Texas, my duty is to uphold the rule of law. We bring these cases to end Biden's assault on our nation's laws, our citizens' rights, and our constitutional order. We've been overwhelmingly successful; one CNN headline from last spring read "Why Texas is a legal graveyard for Biden policies." It's now time for Washington to do its part. My colleagues and I stand ready to assist. And in the meantime, we'll be busy suing President Biden.

Ken Paxton is attorney general of Texas.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.