GOP Governors Join Forces: States Assert Rights Against Federal Overreach In Immigration Policies

By Jennifer Wentworth | Saturday, 06 April 2024 04:10 PM
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In a significant move against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, twenty states, led by Montana and Florida, have joined an amicus brief to safeguard their interests against illegal immigration amid the escalating crisis at the southern border, according to exclusive information obtained by the Daily Caller.

The southern border has witnessed an unprecedented influx of nearly 7.3 million illegal immigrants since President Joe Biden assumed office in 2021, as per data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The escalating situation has raised alarm among Republicans, particularly in light of Texas' intensifying legal conflict with the federal government, which took a turn for the worse in January.

The amicus brief, spearheaded by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, aims to safeguard the rights of states to defend immigration rules when the federal government fails to fulfill its obligations. The states supporting the filing include Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

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"President Biden’s failure to secure the southern border is wreaking havoc on communities in Montana and across the country. The crisis at the border has become so bad that every state is now a border state," Knudsen told the Daily Caller. He criticized the Biden administration's settlement negotiations with left-wing, open-border activists and expressed his support for efforts to halt these practices.

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The amicus brief reveals that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways (CLP) in early 2023. The CLP, according to the DHS, aims to encourage migrants to use lawful, safe, and orderly processes for entering the U.S., impose conditions on asylum eligibility for those who fail to do so, and support the swift return of migrants without valid protection claims. The CLP replaced former President Donald Trump’s Title 42 public health order, which expired on May 11, 2023.

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However, GOP lawmakers argue that the new rule allows numerous migrants to be paroled within the U.S. and permits migrants at U.S. ports of entry to schedule asylum interviews using a government app. This led to multiple complaints against President Biden and Mayorkas, with cases involving North Dakota and Texas entangled in the courts.

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Several red states intervened in three cases, arguing that the government no longer adequately represented their interests as the courts temporarily suspended the legal actions. The filing argues that the states have standing to defend immigration rules and have an interest in preventing circumvention of the Administrative Procedure Act’s procedural protections, which oversee the federal agencies' process of developing and issuing new regulations.

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During the legal battle between DHS and Texas in January, Texas officials began to take control over their southern border areas heavily impacted by illegal crossings. While Texas authorities argued for their Constitutional right to defend themselves and called for Biden to shut down the border, Mayorkas accused Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of wreaking havoc in other cities and states by allegedly refusing to cooperate with officials.

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States like Montana and Florida rallied behind Texas’ refusal to cede jurisdiction of the border after a legal decision favored the DHS. GOP state governors defended Texas’ rights on social media, criticizing Biden and his administration, and offering their National Guard troops to intervene.

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While Texas has been in the media spotlight for its border issue, other states are now sharing the same stage. In September 2023, Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte led a 25-state bipartisan effort pressing Biden to release illegal immigration data. The estimated annual costs for illegal immigration into the U.S., both federally and locally, are believed to be at least $150.7 billion, according to Gianforte’s press release.

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