House candidate sues Biden officials

Former Trump official Harrison alleges open border policies are illegal

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
Brian Harrison

A former official in the administration of former President Donald Trump who is on the ballot for the open U.S. House District 6 seat has filed a lawsuit against senior officials in the Biden administration. 

Brian Harrison, a Midlothian resident who served until Jan. 20 as the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced the filing of the lawsuit on Monday.

Steven Pace, a resident of the Amarillo area, is also a plaintiff in the case, in which a 20-page brief was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas in Amarillo. Attorney Brian Foley of Conroe filed the brief, which was made available in draft form on March 17.

The plaintiffs allege that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention violated federal law when the agency, without offering any rationale, illegally repealed the so-called Title 42 Order, a Trump-era policy sealing America’s borders to undocumented, illegal aliens potentially infected with COVID-19. The complaint argues that the Biden administration’s actions have resulted in a crisis on the southern border that puts Americans’ health at increased risk. 

The suit names Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services; Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security; and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, as defendants. 

“The Biden administration’s reckless and illegal pursuit of open border policies has created a public health and humanitarian crisis,” Harrison said in a press release on Monday. “Today I am standing up for Texas and America by suing to force them to obey the law and secure the border.”

On Oct. 16, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, determined that introduction of aliens, regardless of their country of origin, migrating through Canada and Mexico into the United States creates a serious danger of the introduction of COVID–19 into the United States, and the danger is so increased by the introduction of such aliens that a temporary suspension is necessary to protect the public health. This is commonly referred to as the Title 42 Order.

On Feb. 11, following the change in administrations, the CDC effectively repealed part of the Title 42 Order to permit illegal aliens under the age of 18 into the country. Harrison said this action conflicts with other actions the Biden administration has taken to combat COVID-19.

Harrison also claims the CDC gave no explanation for its change in policy, which he said violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion because it offers no rationale for taking this final action to reverse its prior order from October. Plaintiffs frequently cite the APA in lawsuits to stymie executive actions, as was done numerous times during Trump’s one term.

Harrison, a Republican, is one of 23 candidates on the ballot for a May 1 special election to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by the death of GOP Congressman Ron Wright on Feb. 7. A runoff election is widely expected and will be held on June 5 between the two candidates who receive the most votes.