This week, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of attorneys general in a legal filing demanding President Biden fix unlawful immigration policies and secure the border. The Biden administration’s intentional dismantling of border security has resulted in more than seven million inadmissible immigrants surging across the border. Despite a court victory earlier this year by Florida Attorney General Moody against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s catch-and-release policies, the agency continues to release inadmissible immigrants into the country. The coalition is demanding that DHS amend its unlawful policies to expressly prohibit the mass release of inadmissible immigrants into the U.S.
The coalition of Attorneys General submitted a Petition for Rulemaking to amend the DHS’s catch-and-release policies, stating that the policies are blatantly unlawful and have horrendous effects on our country’s security. The petition states:
As the court found in Florida, DHS’s mass release policies have been ‘akin to posting a flashing ‘Come In, We’re Open’ sign on the southern border.’ In August 2023, Border Patrol released 100,585 aliens under § 1226(a). We anticipate that the numbers in September will be even higher, especially given DHS’s decision to set release quotas for Border Patrol to meet. Even if the numbers merely remain the same, DHS is releasing aliens at a rate of over one million per year, and that does not include the aliens being released on parole under § 1182(d)(5).
In addition to unlawfully releasing inadmissible immigrants into the U.S., DHS is giving the migrants released under the unlawful practices a court date many years in the future. DHS’s unlawful decisions are allowing millions of unauthorized immigrants to remain in the U.S. for 15 years or longer before ever approaching a judge’s bench.
The coalition is urging DHS to amend its regulations to expressly prohibit unlawful releases.
The petition states:
The purpose of this Petition to Initiate Rulemaking, 5 U.S.C. § 553(e); 6 C.F.R. §§ 3.1–3.9, is to demand that you fix the problem you created. Specifically, you should promulgate changes to your regulations to close the catch-and-release loophole that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently exploiting to implement its mass release policy at the Southwest Border.
The amendment could be made to either 8 C.F.R. § 235 or § 236. And all the amendment needs to say is something to the effect of ‘aliens who are subject to § 1225(b) because they meet the definition of ‘applicant for admission’ in § 1225(a) may not be released under § 1226(a) because that provision does not apply to them.’ In other words, the amendment should clarify that § 1225 and § 1226 do not overlap but ‘apply to different classes of aliens.’
Florida Attorney General Moody sponsored the petition. In addition to Utah Attorney General Reyes, the attorneys general of the following states also signed on to the action: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.