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Arizona AG files lawsuit against Biden admin’s immigration policies for causing environmental harms – ‘Failing to consider environmental impact’

Brnovich’s office, in a complaint filed in Phoenix federal court, said migrants who enter the U.S. as a result of the Biden administration suspending construction of a border wall and eliminating the “return to Mexico” policy will contribute to pollution by driving cars, purchasing goods and visiting public parks and other facilities.

The AG’s office said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security violated the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) by failing to consider the environmental impact of its immigration policies before implementing them.

“It’s the pinnacle of hypocrisy for the Biden administration to claim it wants to protect our environment, while not enforcing federal statutes that are specifically designed for that purpose,” Brnovich, a Republican, said in a statement.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Joe Biden in January ordered DHS to cease construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that had been a centerpiece of the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

In February, DHS said it would stop applying the 2019 “return to Mexico” policy, under which migrants who entered the U.S. illegally were sent back to Mexico to await deportation proceedings. As a result, thousands of individuals were allowed back into the U.S.

In Monday’s complaint, the Arizona AG said both moves would lead to population growth in the state, which in turn would lead to an uptick in greenhouse gas emissions. Courts have for decades recognized that population growth is a type of environmental impact that must be considered under the NEPA, the AG said.

Brnovich’s office accused DHS of violating the NEPA by failing to analyze the environmental effects of its policies. The AG is seeking an order blocking DHS from diverting border-wall funding or from allowing migrants into the U.S. who had been subject to the remain in Mexico policy.

The case is Arizona v. Mayorkas, U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, No. 2:21-cv-00617.

For Arizona: Drew Ensign of the Arizona Attorney General’s office

For DHS: Not available