- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2021

President Biden’s decision to limit deportations even as it ramps up catch-and-release of new illegal immigrants at the border is “one of the stupidest things we’ve ever seen,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Tuesday.

The Republican lawyer spoke to The Washington Times a day after he expanded a lawsuit against Mr. Biden’s 100-day deportation pause to also include ICE’s new nondeportation guidelines, which severely restrict who can be targeted for arrest and removal.

He said that is creating a crisis confluence alongside what’s going on at the border, where illegal immigrants are being processed and released into his state’s communities without any COVID-19 testing.

“This is like leaving a loaded gun on a table. Something bad is going to happen,” he said.

Mr. Brnovich said another victim of the Biden surge is the president’s hope of getting his immigrant legalization bill signed into law. The new border problem has reminded the public of the need for secure borders first — something that’s lacking in the Biden plan.



“This is exactly not the way to do it,” Mr. Brnovich said.

Mr. Brnovich is the first attorney general to sue over the Biden team’s nondeportation orders, which govern whom officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can target for arrest and removal.

National security risks, people who jumped the border in recent months and those with serious criminal charges are still acceptable targets. If officers want to go after anyone else, then they must submit a written proposal and get approval. In practice, officers say, that will be almost impossible to do given the time constraints on trying to arrest someone out in the community.

Mr. Brnovich said the guidance appears to be another way to achieve the president’s deportation pause, which was blocked by a federal court.

“There’s a lot of stupid crap that goes on in Washington, D.C., but this has to be one of the stupidest things we’ve ever seen,” he said.

At the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki again declined to call the surge a crisis, instead saying Tuesday she wanted to focus on the reasons rather than the labels.

She said the numbers were growing because people are “fleeing violence, fleeing economic hardship and other things.” She also pointed to last year’s severe weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So, there are also a range of factors that are leading individuals to come to the border,” she said.

She did not mention the administration’s own policy changes, though that’s what those in border states say is the chief factor.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, toured the border Tuesday and said the situation is every bit a crisis, pushing back on Mr. Biden’s refusal to apply that label.

The governor also challenged the Department of Homeland Security to vaccinate all Border Patrol agents against the coronavirus, calling it unconscionable that they were being deployed to handle the surge without protection from the pandemic. He said the vaccinations must take place this week.

“Anything less than that is the epitome of inhumanity,” Mr. Abbott said.

During his helicopter tour, he said, his party saw illegal immigrants jumping the border in real time, rafting across the Rio Grande and then climbing a dirt road on the bank of the U.S. side.

He said the surge of migrants is a tactic the smuggling cartels are using to overwhelm federal agents, forcing them to babysit families and children who cross the border, even as the smugglers send in more dangerous cargo, whether that’s drugs or migrants who pose a public safety risk.

Mr. Abbott said Mr. Biden and his team are downplaying the severity of the situation, both in terms of numbers and the danger the migrants pose as a vector for the coronavirus.

“He does not care about Americans; he cares more about people who are not from this country,” the governor said.

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