SAN DIEGO (AP) – During the final week of the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security quietly signed agreements with at least four states to temporarily phase out President Joe Biden’s efforts to undo his predecessor’s immigration policies. They threaten to derail.
The agreements state that the Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Texas executive branches are entitled to a consultation period of 180 days before the policy changes take effect. The Biden administration rejects this argument on the grounds that immigration is solely the responsibility of the federal government under the Constitution.
Former President Donald Trump relied heavily on executive powers for his immigration agenda as he was unable to build enough support for his policies in Congress. Now some of his supporters say that Biden is going too far to reverse him.
The first legal trial is in Texas, where Republican governors and attorney generals are challenging a 100-day deferment on the deportation of the Democratic president, which went into effect on Friday.
The Homeland Security Department told lawmakers shortly before Biden’s inauguration last week that it reached nine agreements, with most states, an official said on condition of anonymity not yet publicly available.
The department declined to comment, citing the lawsuit. The Trump administration, usually eager for trumpet immigration enforcement, remained publicly silent on the agreements previously reported by BuzzFeed News.
Nine page agreement The first Act, or Safe, known as the Sanctuary for Americans, are expansive. They require that state and local governments receive 180-day changes in the number of immigration agents, the number of people released from immigration detention, enforcement preferences, asylum criteria and qualifying for legal status.
Without offering evidence, the agreements state that lax enforcement could harm education, health care, housing and jobs.
Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County, North Carolina, on the Virginia border, signed an agreement on 22 December.
“There is likely to be a change in the policy of any incoming administration,” the sheriff said. “Policy changes at the federal level affect us at the local level. It is expected that the Safe Agreement will promote timely communication about any significant upcoming policy changes. We are only asking for information about these changes. “
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, signed an agreement on December 15 “to hold the tide of illegal immigration”, spokesman Corey Dennis said.
“While some people may try to blur the lines, there is a difference between legal and illegal immigration, and it is important to recognize that,” he said. “Our office is a watchdog for any changes in immigration policies that may be harmful to the people of Louisiana.”
Former state Attorney General Curtis Hill in Indiana, a Republican, signed the agreement on December 22. Rachel Hoffmeyer, a spokesman for Gov. Eric Holcomb, said it would remain in place after the initial review.
Katie Connor, a spokesman for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, confirmed that the state signed, saying, “It has several cooperative agreements with federal, state, and local enforcement agencies, including DHS.”
In addition to the deportation moratorium, the Biden administration suspended a policy to await refugees for a hearing in a US immigration court. Six Biden’s 17 first-day executive orders dealt with immigration, such as working on a border wall with Mexico and lifting travel restrictions on people in several predominantly Muslim countries.
Hiroshi Motomura, a professor of immigration law and policy at the University of California at the Los Angeles School of Law, called the agreements “a very unusual, last-minute thing” and said they raise questions about how the administration can tie hands. Of its successor. He believes that a deportation moratorium was within the power of the President.
Steve Legomski, professor emeritus of Washington University School of Law and former chief advocate of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the agreements are “a terrible idea” that could create “a race from the bottom,” for everyone to oppose competition. Is with states. To take other immigrants elsewhere.
“For our entire history, immigration policy has been understood as the exclusive responsibility of the federal government,” Legomsky said.
Legomski said that having immigration enforcement with the federal government allows the nation to speak with a single voice in terms of foreign policy and stability. “We cannot have 50 conflicting sets of immigration laws,” he said.
The Biden administration made similar arguments for filing in court on Sunday after a Texas federal judge asked to stop the deportation moratorium.
Texas, which has challenged deferred action for childhood action to shield thousands of young people from deportation, argued that the moratorium violated its agreement with Homeland Security. The state also argued that the moratorium violates federal rulemaking procedures.
US District Judge Drew Tipton in Victoria, Texas, appointed by Trump last year, held hearings on Friday and Monday to consider Texas’ request.
Associated Press writers Ben Fox in Washington, Gary Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina, Casey Smith in Indianapolis, Baton Rouge, Melinda Deslett in Louisiana and Anita Snow in Phoenix contributed to this report.