“We’re not going to sit idly by as the Biden Administration ignores real harms to our state resulting from its heavy-handed executive orders.”
April 12, 2021
Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and federal officials for violating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) over destructive immigration policies. The Attorney General’s Office is asking the U.S. District Court in Arizona to void the decisions to stop border wall construction and the “Remain in Mexico” policy until the federal government complies with its obligations under NEPA.
“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,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “We’re not going to sit idly by as the Biden Administration ignores real harms to our state resulting from its heavy-handed executive orders.”
NEPA protects the environment by requiring federal agencies to carefully weigh environmental considerations before taking any major federal action. As the drafters of NEPA recognized, population growth has significant environmental impacts.
In its complaint, Brnovich 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.
President Joe Biden, in one of his first official actions on January 20, 2021, ordered the halting of ongoing construction of miles of border wall. Brnovich asserts that leaving haphazard and unplanned gaps between physical barriers encourages widespread illegal migration.
Brnovich says that as a direct consequence of the gaps in the nation’s border infrastructure, migrants have been streaming into Arizona in greater numbers than ever before.
According to the Arizona AG, one source estimates that approximately 1,000 individuals are able to evade detention and enter the United States illegally every single day.
Impact of Increased Population on the Human Environment
Migrants, like everyone else, need housing, infrastructure, hospitals, schools, cars, and the rest. Arizona argues that all of these activities have significant environmental impacts, including displacement of undeveloped lands and additional air emissions and pollutions.
While the courts have repeatedly recognized that the environmental impacts of such policies, Brnovich argues that courts must analyze the implementation under NEPA, which DHS has never attempted to do.
Read a copy of the lawsuit by clicking here.