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Immigration Advocates File Lawsuit Against Arizona Attorney General

— March 19, 2021

Immigrants’ rights advocates are pushing back against Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s attempts to block President Joe Biden’s latest changes to U.S. immigration policy.

On Tuesday, a coalition of immigration and Latino advocacy groups announced a lawsuit against Brnovich’s office. The complaint, notes The Associated Press, was filed by the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on behalf of the Arizona-based Puente Human Rights Movement, Chicanos Por La Causa, and the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project.

Each of those groups, says The Associated Press, provides a variety of legal and social services to immigrants in Arizona.

MALDEF’s lawsuit intends to address a policy left behind by President Donald Trump.

In the Trump administration’s waning days, top-ranked federal officials signed agreements with the governments of various states—entitling predominately Republican-led regimes along the U.S.-Mexico border to demand consultation before any changes are made to immigration policy.

Image of posters at an immigration rally
Posters at a Immigration Rally; image courtesy of StockSnap via Pixabay,

That agreement, notes The A.P., provided states a 180-day window to contest federal immigration policy after President Trump left office.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF’s president and general counsel, said it’s disappointing that Brnovich and other Arizona leaders are attempting to override the results of the general election by clinging to Trump-era immigration dictates.

But Brnovich and his representatives were quick to respond to the suit, suggesting that immigration activists are actively ignoring the realities of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We are still reviewing the complaint,” said Brnovich spokesperson Katie Conner. “It’s disappointing that there’s a humanitarian crisis on the border and the plaintiffs don’t seem to care about the impact it’s having.”

Brnovich, for his part, has accused the Biden administration of attempting to release “violent criminals” into Arizona.

“If asked about the poorest policy choice I’ve ever seen in government, this would be a strong contender,” said Brnovich. “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.”

Brnovich’s lawsuit comes in response to two separate federal memos which order a 100-day “pause” on deportations.

However, the revised immigration policies specifically instruct the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to prioritize the apprehension, arrest, and deportation of undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of violent crimes, are known gang affiliates, or otherwise pose a risk to national security.

The pause also does not apply to migrants who have been caught attempting to cross the border on or after November 1st.

Nevertheless, Brnovich’s office maintains that any pause on deportation is in contravention of existing federal law, which mandates that any migrant who has been served a final deportation order must be removed from the United States within 100 days.


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