Texas and Louisiana sue the federal government over deportation holds

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The states of Texas and Louisiana have filed a complaint with a federal court in Houston alleging immigration authorities have declined to take custody of people who have been convicted of crimes and could subject to deportation. 

Changes in immigration policy by President Joe Biden’s administration allow immigrants who have been convicted of crimes to be released at the end of their sentences rather than being held for deportation proceedings.

The lawsuit asks a judge to declare some of the Biden administration’s executive actions on immigration to be illegal.

“Law and order must be immediately upheld and enforced to ensure the safety of our communities, dangerous and violent illegal aliens must be removed from our communities as required by federal law,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

On Biden’s first day in office, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum directing immigration agencies to focus their enforcement efforts on three categories: threats to national security, threats to public safety, and immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally on or after Nov. 1.

People convicted of sex offenses against minors still qualify for enforcement. The memorandum defines public safety threats as incarcerated people “who have been convicted of an ‘aggravated felony'” as defined in immigration law. The relevant portion of the law begins: “The term aggravated felony means … murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor.”

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