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Republican Attorneys General Sue Homeland Security for Deportation Pause

— November 18, 2021

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the Department of Homeland Security’s new immigration rules will increase crime in his state.

Republican attorneys general from Arizona, Ohio, and Montana have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, saying its new immigration policies violate federal law.

According to Fox News, the complaint claims that the Department of Homeland Security’s “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law” violates a legal requirement that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deport anyone who has been issued a “final order of removal” within 90 days.

However, the Department of Homeland Security’s revised guidance would see immigration officials prioritize the removal of recent arrivals, as well as undocumented immigrants who pose risks to national security.

In the meantime, agency Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas encouraged immigration prosecutors to exercise “discretion” when charging or issuing deportation orders against other immigrants, especially those who have been residing in the United States long-term.

“In exercising this discretion, we are guided by the knowledge that there are individuals in our country who have been here for generations and contributed to our country’s well-being, including those who have been on the frontline in the battle against COVID, lead congregations of faith, and teach our children,” Mayorkas said.

Image via PxHere/Inside Higher Ed. Listed as public domain on PxHere.

“As we strive to provide them with a path to status, we will not work in conflict by spending resources seeking to remove those who do not pose a threat and, in fact, make our Nation stronger,” he continued.

The agency’s guidance specifically says that, just because a person is “removable” does not mean that they should be removed or have an action enforced against them.

“The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” Mayorkas’s guidance says.

Republican attorneys general have taken issue with the new dictate, saying it violates foundational aspects of federal immigration law.

“This is a suit to enforce bedrock requirements of immigration and administrative law,” the lawsuit alleges. “On September 30, 2021, in a brazen display of contempt for Congress’s statutory commands, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas—Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (‘DHS’)—announced a policy that abandons DHS’s duties to enforce or implement entire swaths of immigration law.”

Each state named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit affixed a list of complaints, describing the different ways in which they may be aversely affected by the Department of Homeland Security’s new guidance.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, for instance, said that a slow-down in deportations would increase crime rates in his state.

“The Biden Administration continues to pursue its reckless open border policies, with a shocking disregard for the law or the safety of American families,” Brnovich said. “Its latest administrative guidance would just about abolish ICE, even as escalating crime and atrocities are moving through our border and into communities across the country.”


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