Republican AGs fight Biden rollback of Trump immigration agenda

White House
Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian/White House

‘Republican lawyers pushing back despite the odds being stacked against them.’

As President Joe Biden tries to roll back his predecessor Donald Trump’s hardline immigration agenda, Republican state attorneys general are pushing back by increasingly turning to the courts, according to media reports.

Republican AGs cited by the Hill say their lawsuits aim to ensure that US immigration law is strongly enforced in order to protect public safety and save billions in tax dollars.

“I think the one thing that is becoming crystal clear with the Biden administration is that they are going all in on ‘open borders,’” Arizona’s attorney general Mark Brnovich (R) was quoted as saying.

“It’s troublesome. And I think that in the long run this is gonna hurt America.”

REALATED: Biden outlines steps to undo Trump immigration policies (February 2, 2021)

Over the past decade, state AGs — Democratic and Republican alike — have been involved in legal fights over immigration policy, feuding alternately with both Trump, a Republican, and his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, the Hill noted.

Legal experts cited by the Hill say these clashes with the occupants of the White House of the day are at least in part the result of congressional gridlock over what to do about the country’s roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants.

With Congress unable or unwilling to pass comprehensive immigration reform, presidents have made changes through executive action, it noted.

On his first day in office, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security ordered a 100-day freeze on deportations of nearly all undocumented immigrants while the administration undertook a review of Trump’s policies.

Two days later, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) sued on the grounds that Biden’s move would “cause Texas immediate and irreparable harm” if not blocked.

Judge Drew Tipton, the federal judge in Southern Texas presiding over Paxton’s lawsuit agreed to temporarily suspend Biden’s 100-day deportation ban saying the administration appeared not to have offered an adequate legal justification for halting removals.

Biden’s deportation freeze also came under a similar legal attack by Florida’s Republican attorney general Ashley Moody, the Hill noted.

Legal controversy also surrounded Biden’s move last week to rescind Trump’s 2019 “public charge” rule directing federal immigration authorities to decline green cards and visas to those likely to become reliant on public aid

Republican lawyers cited by the Hill maintain that the rule would save more than $1 billion in tax dollars. Critics, however, say the policy amounts to a harsh “wealth test” for aspiring immigrants.

Led by Arizona and Texas, a dozen Republican state lawyers are now seeking to litigate the issue in three different federal appeals courts, with hopes that the case will eventually make its way before the Supreme Court.

According to legal analysts cited by the Hill, courts have generally regarded immigration law as the exclusive purview of the federal government. “That means state challenges to Biden’s immigration moves face an uphill battle,” it said.

Despite the odds being stacked against them, Republican AGs will likely continue to mount legal challenges against Biden, especially with lawmakers unlikely to reach bipartisan agreement on immigration reform, Kevin R. Johnson, dean of the University of California Davis School of Law, was quoted as saying.

“It doesn’t seem like there’s going to be any end to the legal skirmishing, absent some kind of immigration action that gets passed by Congress that changes the playing field on immigration,” he said.

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