Arizona Attorney General files lawsuit against DHS immigration policy

Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 10:11 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security’s new immigration policy.

This comes after President Joe Biden signed an executive order pausing deportations for 100 days last week. Brnovich is asking the U.S. District Court in Arizona to take action on the new policy. He said that it violates Arizona’s existing agreement with DHS, a memorandum of understanding.

“We believe that they had to have reached out to us and communicate with us because it’s good practical public policy,” said Brnovich.

The lawsuit claims halting deportations for 100 days raises serious safety concerns for communities in Arizona.

“I do believe that if you have situations where people that may have been charged with a crime or even convicted of a felony, or even people that have not been tested for COVID... if they are being released into our communities, even if set for deportations, I think that is dangerous,” said Brnovich.

According to DHS’ memo, Homeland Security’s priorities for now, will focus on national security risks, people arrested at the border entering through unauthorized areas and people released from prisons or jails after being convicted of serious crimes.

Humanitarian aid workers like Dora Rodriguez help the undocumented community in Tucson. Rodriguez says she is not surprised by the attorney general’s office pushback.

“Not necessarily everyone is a felon case, not everyone is a risk, and with COVID-19, there’s organizations working hard to make sure this community is getting tested,” she said.

She tells KOLD News 13 that this is just another punishment for a community that has lived in America’s shadows.

“With all my respect to the attorney general and to the people who hold public offices, this is the time to really reflect on the policies that are implemented and make them more humane,” said Rodriguez.

According to the memo, the 100 day pause on enforcing ordered deportation does not apply to people suspected of terrorism or other national security concerns.

Brnovich said the lawsuit was the last resort. The office sent DHS a formal letter and several emails asking for a meeting to discuss the policy. According to his office, that meeting was denied.

KOLD News 13 reached out to DHS to request an interview in regards to the lawsuit filed. In an email sent to us, the department’s spokesperson says at this time DHS will not comment on the pending litigation.

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