Biden government threatens to sue Texas over unaccompanied minors policy

Health and Human Services claims that Texas’s new policy – which would shut down a number of state-licensed facilities – violates the supremacy clause of the US Constitution.

The Biden administration has threatened to file a lawsuit against Texas if the Lone Star State presses ahead with plans to prevent state immigration prisons from accommodating unaccompanied minors.

According to CBS News, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a Disaster Statement on Memorial Day ordering state officials to cease licensing housing and care programs that place minors under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Shortly after Abbott made the announcement, Texas directed the 52 state-licensed housing and care programs serving unaccompanied minors to reduce and cease operations by the end of August.

CBS News notes that there are approximately 6,200 children in these 52 government-licensed accommodations.

Former Texas Attorney General and current Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Image via Flickr / User: Gage Skidmore. (CCA-BY-2.0).

The Biden government protested quickly, however. In a letter to Abbott earlier this week, health and social services attorney Paul Rodriguez said that Texas’s actions against the federal government violate the supremacy clause of the US Constitution.

The topmost clause, says CBS, states that federal law must necessarily replace conflicting state law.

Rodriguez set Texas a deadline on Friday to state whether state agencies will extend their policy to shelter and care programs administered by the Federal Refugee Relocation Office.

“ORR operates 52 state-licensed facilities in Texas that constitute a significant portion of ORR’s total operational footprint and are an integral part of the federal immigration system,” wrote Rodriguez. “If it were to be interpreted as reaching the network of ORR scholarship institutions in Texas, the May 31st proclamation would be a direct attack on that system.”

Rodriguez then said that such an attack would be a major impediment to ORR’s operations and would conflict with state regulation requiring unaccompanied minors to be placed in facilities specifically licensed to care for children.

“While we prefer to resolve this matter amicably, in light of the legal issues outlined above, HHS is consulting with the US Department of Justice and intends to take all appropriate legal action necessary to safeguard the safety and well-being of the vulnerable juvenile entrusted by Congress ensure. “to ORR,” said Rodriguez.

But Texas pushed back, saying the federal government should be solely responsible for dealing with undocumented immigrants.

“The federal government has created this problem and should be solely responsible for the care of these children,” Governor Abbott said in a statement. “No child will go unnoticed. Texas will continue to focus on doing our job – protecting Texans. “


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