(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and two other state attorneys general are seeking to stop the implementation of a new federal immigration policy that will halt nearly all deportations and handcuff U.S. immigration officers responsible for protecting our communities.
In a lawsuit filed today in Ohio by Yost and his counterparts in Arizona and Montana, the three argue that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law” – scheduled to take effect on Nov. 29 – are irrational and likely to exacerbate the border crisis.
“Illegal drugs and criminals are pouring into our neighborhoods, and now the federal government wants law enforcement to sit by and do nothing,” Yost said. “This is reckless and it violates the law.”
DHS’s latest nonenforcement policy, announced on Sept. 30, will effectively stop deportations, even for those convicted of crimes, and drastically reduce enforcement by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
In the lawsuit, the attorneys general detail how the policy directly violates federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1231), which requires ICE to remove within 90 days any alien who has received a final deportation order.
More than 1.7 million migrants were detained along the southwest border in fiscal year 2021, the highest total ever recorded – a trend that, sadly, is continuing. Last month, the U.S. Border Patrol encountered more than 164,000 migrants at the southwest border, the most for October in at least 21 years.
Making matters worse, the lawsuit notes, are the dangerous and deadly drugs that are pouring into the United States at alarming rates, steadily making their way into communities across the country.
Under the nonenforcement policy, ICE will no longer transfer most deportable migrants from local prisons to ICE custody when they are set to be released from jail, even though federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1226) requires it. Instead, migrants will be released into communities in Ohio – at the cost of taxpayers through community supervision.
When DHS implemented a similar policy earlier this year, not only did illegal immigrant arrests and deportations drastically decline but deportable criminal migrants were also released from jails in large numbers.
The attorneys general are asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to declare the nonenforcement policy illegal and to stop it from taking effect.