Montana joins Arizona’s amended suit against Biden’s deportation policy

Mar 9, 2021, 1:00 PM | Updated: 1:41 pm

PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Monday updated his lawsuit against the U.S. government over immigration policies and gained an ally in the case.

“We amended our lawsuit to add an additional count to include the interim guidance by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) regarding the non-deportation of people that are supposed to be deported,” Brnovich told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

Montana also joined Arizona’s suit seeking to prevent the Biden administration’s 100-day deportation moratorium.

The plan to pause most deportations was announced in a DHS memorandum on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden’s first day in office.

The policy represented a break from the agency’s direction under former President Donald Trump, whose administration arrested and removed anyone in the country illegally regardless of criminal history or community ties.

On Feb. 3, Brnovich sued the Department of Homeland Security in U.S. District Court, arguing that the moratorium was illegal and violated Homeland Security’s Trump-era agreement not to change border policy without the state’s input.

Texas had filed a similar case on Jan. 22.

On Feb. 18, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency within DHS, issued interim guidance on the deportation policy. The guidance, which Brnovich added to his suit Monday, indicated that ICE would primarily remove offenders who posed a threat to national security, committed violent crimes or drug trafficking, or recently crossed the border illegally.

“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,” Brnovich’s case amendment says.

The state attorney general said he believes the situation at the border will deteriorate if the policies are allowed to stand and sees it as a security issue for Arizonans.

“We just need order,” Brnovich said. “We can’t have chaos on the border, and the system is getting overwhelmed, the local system and even from a law enforcement perspective.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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