(The Center Square) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland over a new policy their agencies have implemented to facilitate expanded entry into the U.S. using a mobile application.
“The Biden Administration deliberately conceived of this phone app with the goal of illegally pre-approving more foreign aliens to enter the country and go where they please once they arrive” Paxton said in a statement. “Joe Biden, Alejandro Mayorkas, and the entire Biden Administration have prioritized creating and protecting new ways for illegal aliens to stream into this country, no matter the cost or consequence to struggling American citizens. Time after time, my office has shown that we will fight back in court to defeat their unlawful open-borders policies. We intend to stop this rule from wreaking further havoc on the people of Texas.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas Del Rio Division on Tuesday. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are named as defendants.
In February, DHS and DOJ jointly issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways, ahead of the public health authority Title 42 ending on May 11. The rule, which went into effect May 11, created significant changes to the asylum and immigration process established by Congress. Under the rule, foreign nationals must present themselves “at a port of entry at a pre-scheduled time using the CBP One app” to be considered eligible for entry, with some exceptions.
The CBP One app, a free mobile application available through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, “enables noncitizens without appropriate documents for admission who seek to travel to the United States through certain southwest border land ports of entry … the ability to submit information through a module within the application instead of coming directly to wait at a POE,” CBP explains.
Foreign nationals must be physically located in central or northern Mexico when they request an appointment through the app to enter the U.S. The app allows them to request and schedule an appointment where they can go in person to eight ports of entry. Five are in Texas: Brownsville, Paso Del Norte in El Paso, Eagle Pass, Hidalgo, and Laredo. Two are in California: Calexico and San Ysidro. One is in Arizona: Nogales.
On May 10, the app expanded to allow appointments to be made 23 hours a day. On May 12, the number of available appointments increased to roughly 1,000 a day, prioritizing noncitizens who’ve waited the longest, according to CBP.
The CBP One App, CBP says, “remains a key part of the Department of Homeland Security’s multi-pronged strategy to address migrant flows at the southwest border. By using CBP One for these appointments, we have increased our capacity to process noncitizens at ports of entry, a critical part of our commitment to safe, orderly, and humane migration processes.”
However, Paxton argues in the complaint, “In a farcical attempt to address the invasion of illegal aliens across the southern border following the end of Title 42, the Biden Administration published a new Final Rule inviting migrants to download an app to schedule a convenient time and place to cross the border illegally. Neither the app nor the border patrol officers at the southern border ask if the illegal aliens are seeking asylum, nor do they validate any claim for protection.
“The Biden Administration is inviting tens of thousands of aliens into Texas, releasing them into the country, and inflicting serious costs on the State of Texas. The Biden Administration’s attempt to manage the southern border by app does not meet even the lowest expectation of competency and runs afoul of the laws Congress passed to regulate immigration.”
The app is a way for the Biden Administration “to circumvent federal law to ‘streamline’ the process of illegal aliens entering the United States unlawfully,” Paxton argues.
Federal immigration law stipulates that foreign nationals illegally entering the U.S. should be processed for expulsion, with very rare exceptions. But the app “does not and cannot verify” that anyone using it to apply for entry “would qualify for an exception, which would prevent them from being deported,” he notes.
Facilitating entry through the app, Paxton argues, encourages “illegal aliens to come to the United States, even if they do not qualify to stay in the country.”
The lawsuit argues the rule exceeds statutory authority, violates federal law, and is arbitrary and capricious. It asks the court to rule that the DHS/DOJ rule is unlawful, declare DHS/DOJ actions unlawful, and issue a preliminary and permanent injunction to prohibit the rule from being implemented.
He filed the complaint after the number of people who’ve been apprehended or been reported evading capture at the southern border in the first four months of this year is greater than the population of six states, and after fiscal 2023 illegal northern border crossings surpassed the previous four fiscal years combined.