Texas and Louisiana sued the Biden administration Tuesday in federal court, claiming the Department of Homeland Security is not issuing detainer requests for immigrants imprisoned on felony convictions, which means they are being released from custody after serving their time instead of deported, reports the Courthouse News Service. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can issue detainer requests to prison and jail officials asking them to hold undocumented immigrants behind bars so ICE agents can pick them up. Texas and Louisiana claim under memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security in Biden’s first days in office, ICE is failing to issue detainer requests for dangerous immigrants incarcerated in their states.
Texas also claims that the Biden administration has rescinded ICE detainer requests for dozens of immigrants locked up in state prisons run by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, many of whom were convicted of drug offenses, ranging from possession to manufacture and sale. The states claim the new administration’s lax detainer policies violate deals they struck with the Department of Homeland Security on Jan. 8, days before former President Donald Trump left office, that requires DHS to consult with them before taking any actions that could reduce immigration enforcement, or increase the number of removable or inadmissible immigrants in the U.S. The states are insisting that because ICE is not taking immigrants into custody to deport them, they are keeping them in state prisons at substantial expense. They seek a declaration that the memos guiding the new detainer policies are unlawful and an injunction to stop the Department of Homeland Security from abiding by them.