Arizona AG Brnovich, 2 other states suing to stop DHS immigration guidelines
PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is co-leading a lawsuit with attorneys general from Ohio and Montana to stop immigration enforcement guidelines recently issued by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
The guidelines focus Department of Homeland Security resources on the apprehension and removal of noncitizens who are a threat to national security, public safety and border security, adjusting to a case-by-case assessment of whether the individual poses a threat.
It also limits authorities from making arrests or carrying out searches “to the fullest extent possible” at or near protected locations like schools, hospitals or places of worship, as well as limiting arrests at courthouses when people show up for other matters and ending mass worksite raids.
Brnovich and the other attorneys general in the lawsuit argue the guidelines are dangerous and in direct violation of federal law.
“The Biden Administration continues to pursue its reckless open border policies, with a shocking disregard for the law and the safety of American families,” Brnovich said in a press release.
“Its latest administrative guidance would essentially abolish ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), even as escalating crime and atrocities are moving through our border and into communities across the country.”
The lawsuit said the guidance is in direct violation of federal law which requires ICE to remove a noncitizen who has received a final deportation order within 90 days. There are more than 1 million people with final removal orders currently in the country, according to the release.
Brnovich in the lawsuit also argued Arizona’s law enforcement community is concerned noncitizens charged or convicted of crimes will be released as a result of the guidance, along with a concern that releasing individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic will further stress hospitals, jails and other social services at the local and county level.
It was said in the lawsuit that the guidance put forth by the Biden administration will further incentivize illegal immigration and worsen the border crisis.
Mayorkas when introducing the guidance at the end of September said the department does not have the resources to apprehend and seek removal of the more than 11 million undocumented or otherwise removable noncitizens in the country and that many are contributing members of the community.
“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.
“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.”
The guidance is a rollback to the enforcement approach under former President Donald Trump, who sparked criticism for seeking to arrest and remove anyone in the country illegally regardless of criminal history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.