Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich led 15 other attorneys general to file an amicus curiae brief on August 30 in a lawsuit requesting to halt the Biden administration’s “Interim Guidance” policy of not enforcing laws against illegal immigration when it comes to crime.
The lawsuit was filed against the Biden administration on April 6 by the attorneys general of Texas and Louisiana accusing Biden of endangering Americans by no longer arresting or deporting nearly all illegal immigrants involved in crime. Brnovich and the coalition asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to deny Biden’s request for a stay of his policy while his administration appeals a trial court’s ruling halting the policy.
“The Biden Administration continues to intentionally violate federal immigration laws and endanger all Americans,” said Brnovich in a statement. “We continue to see the release of convicted felons, COVID-19 positive migrants, and record levels of dangerous drugs into cities across our country. These reckless policies are illegal, unconscionable and disgraceful. The Biden Administration must be held accountable.”
Brnovich’s brief notes that those deportations, which include aggravated felons, have dropped an astonishing 98 percent in Arizona since Biden’s policy went into effect. So illegal immigrants who have committed arson, armed robbery, misconduct involving weapons, and aggravated DUI are no longer being deported. There is a substantial number of them; they make up 6 percent of Arizona’s prison population, 2,434.
Of those, an extremely high number of illegal immigrants will statistically re-offend. The brief cites numbers from the Department of Justice which show that 68% of released prisoners are rearrested within three years.
The attorneys general argue that the lack of arrests incentivizes illegal border crossings, causing them to surge. Since the policy was implemented in February, the number of migrants crossing has increased every month. DHS recently admitted that it is “encountering record numbers of noncitizens … at the border” that “have strained DHS operations and caused border facilities to be filled beyond their normal operating capacity.”
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton held that the rule violated a federal law requiring that the government “shall detain” people who commit certain crimes or are otherwise deemed eligible for deportation. That law, 8 U.S.C. § 1231, mandates that ICE “shall” remove an alien who has received a final deportation order from the U.S. within 90 days. The Biden administration chose to interpret “shall” as “may.” However, the U.S. Supreme Court reiterated in a separate case this summer, Johnson v. Guzman Chavez, that “shall” means “must.”
Brnovich also joined with the attorney general of Montana to sue the Biden administration in March attempting to stop implementation of the Interim Guidance, which 14 other states signed onto. He has sued the Biden administration three other times over illegal immigration: DHS allegedly violating the National Environmental Policy Act when it ended border wall construction, DHS’s rescission of the Migrant Protection Protocols, and the administration’s abandonment of the 2019 Public Charge Rule.
On August 27, Brnovich and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost led a coalition of 15 attorneys general in sending a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding assurances that the DOJ will faithfully defend a long-standing federal immigration statute that prohibits illegal re-entry. Brnovich asked Biden to remove Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security on August 13, citing his record as “an unmitigated disaster for border security and for American safety and sovereignty.”
– – –