Lawsuits challenge planned changes to federal immigration policies and Texas’ apprehension of migrants

Migrants are suing the state over forced removals under Operation Lone Star, while state officials have sued over federal plans to end COVID-19-based exclusions under Title 42.

By Jill Ament & Shelly BrisbinMay 2, 2022 12:57 pm,

A handful of recent legal moves involving state and federal immigration policies have set the stage for upcoming court battles over programs that have shaped immigration practices at Texas’ southern border with Mexico. That includes Texas Gov. Greg Abbot’s border security initiative, Operation Lone Star, as well as the Trump-era order, Title 42, which allows border officials to expel migrants out of concern for public health during the pandemic.

The Texas Standard spoke with Elissa Steglich, co-director of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law’s Immigration Clinic, to break down the details of some of these lawsuits and what they mean for the future of these border-security efforts. Listen to the interview with Steglich in the audio player above or read the highlights below.

Highlights from this interview:

– Several migrants have sued Texas for being excluded from the United States by state guard troops as part of Operation Lone Star. The suit challenges the state’s constitutional authority to remove migrants from the country because of the federal government’s jurisdiction over immigration policy. Steglich says the suit also claims that arrests of migrants by state law enforcement personnel have specifically targeted male migrants, as well as Black and Latino migrants.

– Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed suit against the Biden administration over efforts to streamline processing of migrants seeking asylum in the United States. New federal rules, which are scheduled to go into effect this month, give more power to asylum officers to make early decisions in asylum cases. Paxton’s suit appears aimed at preventing migrants from being able to seek asylum in the United States, even though treaty obligations and federal law guarantee asylum-seekers access to the asylum process.

– The federal government has announced it will end the exclusion of migrants from the United States under Title 42. The rule, first implemented during the Trump administration, allows officials to exclude migrants for public health reasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the planned end of the program. A hearing will determine whether the program will be required to continue.

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