States say in lawsuit illegal immigration is costing them millions



(The Center Square) – Illegal immigrants cost states tens of millions of dollars, and a new rule will worsen the situation, 18 attorneys general argue in a lawsuit filed against the Biden administration.

The Department of Homeland Security’s new “Circumvention of Lawful Pathways” rule requires migrants crossing the border to cite a specific reason for seeking asylum, with some exceptions. One of those exceptions – the use of a U.S. Customs Border and Patrol app – is likely to increase illegal immigration, the attorneys general said in their lawsuit.

Migrants who use the app to make an appointment at a point of entry will be allowed into the U.S. to apply for asylum, according to the rule. They can also apply for a two-year work authorization.

The Biden administration said the proposed rule would curb illegal entry at the borders. The attorneys general said it is a “smoke screen.”

“The federal government has an obligation to the states and to the people of this country to enforce federal immigration laws and protect our national borders,” said North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley. “But rather than enforcing our border security laws, the federal government is encouraging illegal aliens to schedule their entry into this country through a phone app, after which they predictably disperse around the country without any meaningful oversight.”

States are bearing the costs of illegal immigration “through education programs, state medical costs, incarceration of illegal aliens who commit crimes, and welfare programs,” the attorneys general said. North Dakota has between 6,000 and 9,000 illegal immigrants, which cost the state between $27 million and $36 million a year, according to the lawsuit.

Indiana has about 207,000 illegal immigrants that cost the state about $9.2 million annually.

“In a truly Orwellian twist, the federal government has depicted this latest measure as a tool for reducing illegal immigration,” said Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. “As a matter of fact, this new rule would make it even easier to illegally immigrate into the United States — and everyday Hoosiers right here in Indiana would pay the price.”

The attorneys general said the rule violates the Administrative Procedures Act, which determines how federal agencies can propose regulations. They are asking the court to declare the rule unlawful under the APA and stop the Biden administration from enacting certain portions.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in western North Dakota, is also signed by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

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