NumbersUSA: DHS Sued By Arizona Attorney General Over Border Crisis Impact

Mark Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General, has sued the Department of Homeland Security in U.S. District Court in Arizona in an attempt to reverse the actions DHS has taken to halt border wall construction and overturn the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Filed on April 12, the lawsuit cites the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), which requires federal agencies to consider environmental factors prior to undertaking any major action.

The press release announcing the lawsuit states: “As the drafters of NEPA recognized, population growth has significant environmental impacts. In its complaint, the AGO argues that DHS and other federal officials did not provide environmental impact statements or environmental assessments when DHS abruptly halted ongoing border wall construction and also began permitting entry of additional migrants by ending the “Remain in Mexico” policy.”

Brnovich stressed that allowing increasing numbers of people into the country constitutes a policy change “having a devastating impact on our environment” as well as “impacting the increase in population, which will have all sorts of impacts down the road.”

The Biden administration’s negligence in its approach to border security flies in the face of the position taken by NumbersUSA, a nonpartisan foundation focused on immigration policy. The group stresses that, to benefit society as a whole, governments should focus on selecting the right number of authorized immigrants to allow into the country. This position is supported by the conclusions of two high profile commissions (U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and President Clinton’s Task Force on Population & Consumption) which found that reducing immigration was key to promoting economic fairness for vulnerable Americans and ensuring a high quality of life and environment for future generations.

Established by the Trump administration in 2019, the “Remain in Mexico” policy mandated that individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. had to stay in Mexico while their asylum claims were subject to adjudication. This policy was rescinded by the Biden administration on its first day in office.

Together, Brnovich claims, these two actions are having a “devastating impact” on Arizona’s environment. On the “Fox and Friends” news show, Brnovich stated: “This is a lawsuit that the Sierra Club should love.” He added: “In this lawsuit, we allege the Biden administration is violating the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), what the left uses to stop highway projects, airport reconstruction, and all that other stuff.”

This is the third lawsuit Arizona has filed over Biden’s actions on immigration. According to Brnovich, the Biden administration has not performed an environmental impact study related to immigration, “violating federal environmental law.”

He added that every migrant passing through the desert in the state has dumped at least 6 to 8 pounds of waste such as backpacks, drug paraphernalia, plastic bags, etc.

In this regard, Brnovich stated: “Think about this. Anywhere else, if someone said there are 170,000 people leaving each 7 pounds of trash, I’m not a math whiz (but that is) a million pounds of trash in one month. You’d think the people’s heads would explode.”

Brnovich said that while other lawsuits claim the Biden administration has incentivized illegal immigration, this lawsuit goes beyond that to allege violations of the National Environmental Protection Act.

The Arizona Attorney General also said that he found it “disappointing” that Vice President Kamala Harris, named by President Biden as leader of diplomatic action surrounding immigration at the border, has not visited the region as of yet. This is in spite of the fact that Brnovich has invited her to Arizona himself.

“I pointed out in the letter that both of us are first-generation American products of immigration, and are both AGs,” he said.

In the interview on Fox, Brnovich said that immigration and the illegal drug trafficking often associated with it affect not just Arizona but also the rest of the nation, adding, “it’s going to become an unmitigated tragedy if we don’t do something now.”

Brnovich stressed that America is seen by many immigrants as a nation of laws, but the Biden administration is undermining that perception by picking and choosing “which laws apply to which people.” With regard to the administration’s immigration policy, he said that it is “not fair to anybody who has played by the rules, as many other immigrants have especially in the past.”

The press release by the Arizona Attorney General’s office announcing the lawsuit ends with the following statement regarding the “Impact of Increased Population on the Human Environment.”

“Thousands of additional individuals have settled and continue to settle in Arizona than otherwise would have as a result of DHS’ actions. Migrants, like everyone else, need housing, infrastructure, hospitals, and schools. They drive cars, purchase goods, and use public parks and other facilities. All of these activities have significant environmental impacts, including displacement of undeveloped lands and additional air emissions. But although courts have repeatedly recognized that these impacts must be analyzed under NEPA, DHS has never even attempted to do so.”

About NumbersUSA

NumbersUSA, based in Washington D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, is the largest grassroots organization focused on immigration reduction in the U.S. The nonpartisan group has more than eight million participants including conservatives, liberals and moderates. Its members are encouraged to persuade public officials that the country stands to benefit from reducing immigration numbers toward traditional levels, thereby enabling current and future generations to enjoy a standard of living that isn’t negatively impacted by excessive immigration numbers.

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