Elections 2022FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesTexas, Missouri Sue Biden Administration to Finish Border Wall Construction

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported record-setting numbers of illegal crossings in Fiscal Year 2021.
October 22, 2021
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt have filed suit against the Biden administration over its refusal to continue construction on the southern border wall.

The States of Texas and Missouri filed the suit in the Victoria Division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who is challenging Paxton for attorney general, already filed a similar lawsuit earlier this year.

“The Biden administration’s flat refusal to use funds that have already been set aside by Congress to build the border wall is not only illegal and unconstitutional. It’s also wrong, and it leaves states like Texas and Missouri footing the bill,” Paxton said in a press release on Thursday afternoon.

The attorney general also noted that this is the seventh lawsuit he has filed against the federal government over its immigration policies. Paxton and Schmitt also sued in April to force the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “remain in Mexico policy.”

Ultimately they were successful, as in August the United States Supreme Court effectively ordered DHS to reinstate the policy by declining to block the ruling of a federal judge in Amarillo.

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Biden stopped border wall construction the same day he became president. Consistent with that action, earlier this month DHS announced an end to border wall contracts in the Laredo and Rio Grande Valley sectors.

The lawsuit occurs amid record-setting levels of illegal immigration that have prompted the State of Texas to take aggressive action to deter illegal crossings and assist local authorities.

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published its monthly report of enforcement statistics on Friday afternoon. CBP indicated there were nearly 1.7 million arrests in Fiscal Year 2021. An additional 294,000 were turned away at ports of entry throughout the year.

According to a sector-by-sector breakdown that is current as of October 14, there were more than 549,000 arrests in the Rio Grande Valley and over 259,000 apprehensions in the Del Rio sector throughout the fiscal year.

The majority of these individuals were expelled under the Title 42 statutes that permit the quick deportation of illegal aliens due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trump administration originally invoked the statutes when the pandemic started, and DHS has continued the policy under Biden.

Over a million were expelled under Title 42 in FY 2021, while almost 619,000 were deported via Title 8, the regular immigration laws, according to the CBP figures.

Former CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, suggested in a press release that the September report should not be comforting.

“No doubt the Biden administration will try to spin these still sky-high numbers as some sort of win, but don’t be fooled. These 192,000 apprehensions are still more than 40,000 higher than the highest monthly total during the 2019 crisis, a crisis that then-President Trump quickly and successfully moved to solve,” Morgan said.

“The Biden administration knowingly created a crisis because it sees a political benefit in mass illegal immigration, and thus it has no interest in slowing the historic surge to our border.”

Meanwhile, the CBP under Biden continues to emphasize the difference between total encounters and unique encounters. The agency reported 142,710 unique individuals crossed illegally in September, which was a nine percent decrease from August. However, there were a total of 192,001 border arrests.

CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller stated in a press release that the agency is focused on both border security and “managing a fair and orderly immigration system.”

“CBP encounters along the Southwest border declined in September from the prior month, and a majority of noncitizens encountered were expelled under Title 42,” Miller said. “The men and women of CBP continue to rise admirably to the challenge, despite the strain associated with operating during a global pandemic that has claimed far too many lives among our frontline personnel.”

In September, there was a surge of tens of thousands of Haitian illegal aliens on Del Rio in part due to confusion over a DHS action that extended temporary protected status to some Haitians. Border guards were able to clear the encampment after Americans provided significant humanitarian assistance; however, questions about the federal government’s ability to deter illegal crossings remain.

Chris Magnus, the Arizona police chief Biden has nominated to be the next commissioner of CBP, indicated in a congressional hearing on Tuesday that he is open to continuing construction on the border wall in some areas.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found below.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."