These states won’t go down without a fight.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen are suing the Department of Homeland Security over the “interim guidelines” for immigration enforcement the agency released in February.
The attorneys general amended their initial lawsuit, intended to block President Joe Biden’s January announcement of a 100-day deportation moratorium, to now challenge the DHS guidelines.
The guidelines, released Feb. 19, limit the enforcement capabilities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection to “national threats” and force Border Patrol agents to ask for approval before detaining any immigrant who isn’t categorized as a “national threat.”
“If asked about the poorest policy choice I’ve ever seen in government, this would be a strong contender,” Brnovich said in a statement Tuesday.
“Blindly releasing thousands of people, including convicted criminals and those who may be spreading COVID-19 into our state, is both unconscionable and a violation of federal law. This must be stopped now to avoid a dangerous humanitarian crisis for the immigrants and the people of Arizona.”
“Meth trafficked into Montana by Mexican drug cartels has wracked our state,” Knudsen said. “The problem will only be made worse if the Biden administration continues to allow criminals to stay in the country.
“Enforcing our immigration laws and helping to keep Americans safe is one of the federal government’s most important functions. The Biden administration is failing its basic responsibility to Americans.”
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Biden administration officials have argued that the DHS guidelines allow Border Patrol agents to do their jobs more effectively by focusing their resources on presumable more “dangerous” individuals.
“By focusing our limited resources on cases that present threats to national security, border security, and public safety, our agency will more ably and effectively execute its law enforcement mission,” acting ICE Director Tae Johnson reportedly said in a statement, according to Fox News.
However, considering agents are required to go to their chain of command regarding illegal immigrants who aren’t classified as “national threats,” it’s expected ICE and CBP both will become far less efficient in the near future.
The attorneys general argued in the case that the DHS guidelines are simply an attempt to reassert the idea of the January deportation moratorium, stating in the lawsuit, “This Interim Guidance was simply an attempt to quickly paper over the sparse administrative record without materially changing the Memorandum’s substance, and it cannot cure the glaring legal defects in underlying the Memorandum.”
According to the lawsuit, federal law is “clear” on this issue. However, Brnovich and Knudsen argue, the Biden administration has no regard for the established code.
The lawsuit says that “despite a clear mandate of federal statutory law, Defendants believe that there are literally no constraints whatsoever on their authority, and they may release individuals, including those charged with or convicted of crimes, even when immigration courts have already ordered their removal from the United States.”
It also includes multiple declarations that attempt to prove that Arizona and Montana will be substantially affected by the Biden administration’s recent policy, including costs to both states as well as the threats that illegal immigration and its products have on both states.
“Arizona’s law enforcement community is particularly concerned that aliens who have been charged or convicted of crimes will be released as a result of DHS’s 100-day moratorium,” the lawsuit says. “Moreover, Arizona’s law enforcement community is particularly concerned that releasing individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic will further stress hospitals, jails, and other social services at the local and county level.”
According to the suit, Montana will also be “directly impacted,” with law enforcement communities in the state concerned the DHS guidelines will “exacerbate the serious drug trafficking problems associated with illegal immigration that have afflicted communities across the state.”
Other Republican-led states have also pushed against Biden’s lenient immigration policies. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott criticized the administration last week for “recklessly releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants who have COVID into Texas communities.”
The Biden Administration is recklessly releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants who have COVID into Texas communities.
The Biden Admin. must IMMEDIATELY end this callous act that exposes Texans & Americans to COVID.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 3, 2021
As states push back against the Biden administration’s immigration policies, it’s important to remember that this isn’t out of some xenophobic hatred. Border Patrol statistics show that fiscal year 2021 could have the largest influx of immigrants in recent history, and the fact is that the administration is blatantly ignoring the crisis knocking on our doorstep.
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