Texas and Missouri said in their lawsuit Thursday that the halting of border wall construction will result in more migrants entering their states, causing increased costs for public education and healthcare. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The attorneys general of Texas and Missouri have filed a lawsuit suing the Biden administration to force the government to continue building a physical barrier along the U.S. southern border.
In the lawsuit filed Thursday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt argue that President Joe Biden lacks the authority to halt border wall construction projects.
The challenge comes against moves the Biden administration has taken to stop border wall construction initiated by the previous Trump administration.
"The Biden administration's flat refusal to use funds that have already been set aside by Congress to build the border wall is not only illegal and unconstitutional. It's also wrong, and it leaves states like Texas and Missouri footing the bill," Paxton said in a statement. "I will not sit idly by while this administration wreaks more havoc on our state."
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation terminating former President Donald Trump's declaration of an emergency at the U.S. southern border and halted border wall construction projects and ordered a review of their funding.
In June, the Biden administration announced plans to redirect $2.2 billion in funds for border wall construction to pay for Defense Department projects.
Most recently on Oct. 8, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it intends to cancel the remaining border barrier contracts located in the Laredo and Rio Grande Valley Sectors.
"The president and his agencies may not unilaterally override duly enacted appropriations bills to fulfill a campaign promise," the lawsuit reads.
The Republican attorneys general argue that Biden neither has the constitutional nor statutory authority to refuse to spend funds that Congress has already authorized for border wall construction. They also argue that by cancelling plans to build the wall, Homeland Security failed to give reason.
"The DHS' decisions are both arbitrary and capricious and have been taken in violation of numerous federal laws," the states said.
The refusal to construct the border wall, they said, has allowed migrants to enter Missouri and Texas, resulting in increased costs for public education, healthcare and for the progressing and incarceration of migrants in their criminal-justice systems.
"Dismantling such measures has increased and will increase the number of illegal aliens attempting to come to the states and the percentage of illegal aliens released into the states and the rest of the United States, including the states of Texas and Missouri," the lawsuit states.