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Arizona And Montana Sue Over Biden Administration’s Plan To Limit ICE Arrests

Washington, D.C. – Montana and Arizona are pushing back against President Joe Biden’s administration’s lax handling of illegal immigration by filing an expanded lawsuit to protect border communities.

Both states contend President Biden’s administration’s new immigration policies – which will drastically reduce the number of illegal aliens who would be arrested and deported – would have a devastating impact on their states, FOX News reported.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Arizona back in early February in an attempt to block President Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations, according to the New York Post.

The moratorium was a major part of the President’s promised review of immigration enforcement with the goal of reversing all the pro-enforcement steps taken by former President Donald Trump, NBC News reported.

A federal judge in Texas indefinitely banned President Biden’s administration from putting a pause on most deportations of illegal immigrants on Feb. 25.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich subsequently amended the lawsuit to focus on the interim guidance the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued regarding the arrest and deportation of illegal immigrants, the New York Post reported.

Under that guidance, ICE officers will only be allowed to focus on three facets of illegal immigration – those who pose a threat to national security, those who crossed the border into the U.S. sometime after Nov. 1, 2020, and those who have committed “aggravated felonies,” according to the New York Post.

ICE officers would need to obtain permission from supervisors prior to arresting anyone who doesn’t fit those parameters, FOX News reported.

The policy change is expected to drastically reduce the number of illegal immigrants who are arrested and deported.

Brnovich blasted the change and argued that it would put border states at risk.

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

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen joined the updated lawsuit, and both he and Brnovich have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction until the court hears the case, FOX News reported.

Knudsen and Brnovich alleged that the policy change not only violates federal law, but that it also would result in a surge of drug trafficking, crime, and coronavirus cases in Montana and Arizona.

“Meth trafficked into Montana by Mexican drug cartels has wracked our state,” Knudsen said in a statement to FOX News. “The problem will only be made worse if the Biden administration continues to allow criminals to stay in the country.”

“Enforcing our immigration laws and helping to keep Americans safe is one of the federal government’s most important functions,” he added. “The Biden administration is failing its basic responsibility to Americans.”

The two states also alleged that President Biden’s administration’s policies will drive up healthcare and law enforcement costs and encourage illegal immigration.

“The Removal Moratorium will directly increase the number of aliens with final orders of removal who remain in Arizona because they will not have been removed by DHS,” their request for an injunction read. “Additionally, knowledge that DHS has issued a blanket moratorium on removals will encourage additional unauthorized immigration to Arizona, and this increase in population will increase Arizona’s incurred law enforcement and healthcare services costs related to them.”

There has been a surge of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America on the southern border of the U.S. since President Biden has taken office, according to the New York Post.

Among them are thousands of unescorted children.

Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) Chief Deputy Matthew Thomas said his department began noticing an increase in illegal immigration in their jurisdiction soon after the Presidential election, Townhall reported.

Deputy Thomas referred to the current administration’s “hands-off” approach to with regards to illegal immigration as “Obama 2.0.”

“When [Trump] took office, we saw that this area out here went completely dead,” he told Townhall. “Nobody was moving, nobody was smuggling because [the cartels] knew that Trump was going to put all hands on deck out down here and that they would be intercepted, so it came to a screeching halt.”

“For us, effectively, [Interstate 8]…becomes the new border and even the cartels will tell you that’s their goal line because once they get there, they’re shooting west or they’re shooting east and then they’re on a main interstate right into downtown Phoenix…we become the kickoff point for that,” Deputy Thomas explained.

“These people and these drugs are not coming here to Pinal County to stay,” he noted. “This is a transport location. This is a spot they get through to get to their final destination and they’re being sent all over the country.”

The number of illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. is currently on track to surpass the past three years combined, U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector Interim Chief John Modlin said on Sunday, according to KAET.

“Right now, we are about 100% over where we were this time this last fiscal year,” Chief Modlin said. “In the first four months of this fiscal year, we’ve already surpassed all of 2018. If the flow continues at the rate it is here, by the end of this fiscal year we will have surpassed, ‘18, ‘19 and ‘20 all combined.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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