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Texas AG Ken Paxton sues Biden administration over enforcement of “public charge” law for immigrants

By Uriel J. García, The Texas Tribune

Texas AG Ken Paxton sues Biden administration over enforcement of “public charge” law for immigrants” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit on Thursday against President Joe Biden, accusing his administration of nullifying a federal law that prevents immigrants from obtaining a green card if they are likely to depend on government social services.

The lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court in Victoria claims the Biden administration “seeks to further its open borders policy by enacting a new agency rule that effectively nullifies federal law excluding aliens likely to become public charges.”

In 2019, the Trump administration expanded a rule that would allow immigration officials to deny permanent resident status — also known as a green card — to immigrants if they previously received or in the future expected to receive food assistance, Medicaid, housing assistance or other public benefits.

In 2021, the Biden administration stopped implementing that rule and in December 2022 implemented its own rule that mirrored a 1999 policy that defined a public charge as someone who is using public cash assistance or being institutionalized for long-term care on the government’s dime.

“The rule restores the historical understanding of a ‘public charge’ that had been in place for decades, until the prior Administration began to consider supplemental public health benefits such as Medicaid and nutritional assistance as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination,” the Department of Homeland Security said in September when it announced its own rule. “The rule announced today speaks to the Biden Administration’s commitment to restoring faith in our legal immigration system.”

Paxton’s lawsuit, which claims the Biden administration violated the law by revoking the Trump-era rule and adopting its 2022 rule, asks a federal judge to halt the use of the new rule.

Since Biden took office two years ago, Texas has sued his administration more than 20 times, with most of the lawsuits focused on immigration policies. A majority of the lawsuits have been filed in courtrooms overseen by a Trump-appointed judge.

“I’ve sued Biden over a dozen times to secure our southern border,” Paxton tweeted on Thursday, adding, “I’ll keep suing & winning until he & his lawless Dems follow the law.”

Paxton’s office has been successful in temporarily halting some of the Biden administration’s immigration policies. Most recently, Texas joined an Arizona-led lawsuit that has forced the Biden administration to continue enforcing the emergency health order known as Title 42 to expel migrants to Mexico without allowing them to claim asylum.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

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