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Texas attorney general files lawsuit to block Biden's deportation freeze

FILE PHOTO: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court after justices heard arguments in a challenge by 26 states over the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's executive action to defer deportation of certain immigrant children and parents who are in the country illegally in Washington, April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Texas attorney general filed a lawsuit on Friday that seeks to block U.S. President Joe Biden’s move to pause certain deportations for 100 days, a controversial opening-move by the Democratic president that has provoked blowback from some Republicans.

In the filing, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the state would face “irreparable harm” if the deportation moratorium was allowed to go into effect.

Biden promised on the campaign trail to enact a 100-day moratorium on deportations if elected, a proposal that contrasted sharply with the immigration crackdown promoted by then-President Donald Trump, a Republican.

After Biden took office on Wednesday, the top official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memo that ordered a pause on certain deportations to enable the department to better deal with “operational challenges” at the U.S-Mexico border during the pandemic.

In the court filing on Friday, Paxton argued that the deportation moratorium violated the president’s constitutional duty to execute federal laws. Paxton, a Republican, also said the temporary freeze violated an enforcement agreement the state brokered with the outgoing Trump administration earlier this month.

Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington; Editing by Mica Rosenberg in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis

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