Arizona is suing the Biden administration over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers and private businesses with more than 100 employees, arguing the rule unlawfully favors illegal migrants over American citizens.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the vaccine mandate, which goes into effect on Nov. 22, is unconstitutional because it does not apply to illegal immigrants.
Under the new federal rules, those who do not comply or receive a medical or religious exemption can be fired, but illegal immigrants can decline the vaccine — which Mr. Brnovich, a Republican, said is “protecting their freedom and bodily autonomy more than American citizens.”
“Migrants who cross the southern border illegally are not subject to any vaccination requirements even when released directly into the United States (where most will remain),” he said. “This reflects an unmistakable — and unconstitutional — brand of favoritism in favor of illegal migrants.”
It is the first lawsuit nationwide to challenge President Biden’s “radical” actions requiring the vaccines, according to the Arizona attorney general, who is seeking the GOP nomination for the state’s 2022 Senate race.
In the 15-page complaint, Mr. Brnovich claims the vaccine mandate is “one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberties, principles of federalism, and separation of powers ever attempted by an American President.”
The attorney general filed the suit in the District Court of Arizona. He wants a judge to declare that the vaccine mandate violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and to enjoin the federal government from enforcing it.
“Under our Constitution, the President is not a king who can exercise this sort of unbridled power unilaterally. And even George III wouldn’t have dreamed that he could enact such sweeping policies by royal decree alone,” the lawsuit states.
Mr. Brnovich said in a press release that Mr. Biden’s Chief of Staff Ronald Klain has even “acknowledged” that the federal government lacks the authority to impose the mandate.
He included a photo of Mr. Klain’s retweet of a post stating the Occupation Safety and Health Administration “doing this vaxx mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate work-around for the federal [government] to require vaccinations.”
The president has not released a statement on the lawsuit.
When Mr. Biden announced the mandate last week, he said, “We’ve been patient but our patience is wearing thin and your refusal has cost all of us.”
“This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you,” he said.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, tweeted that he is also planning to file a suit over the mandate.
“This is an egregious, tyrannical power grab that stands no chance in court,” Mr. Paxton tweeted. “I’ll be suing this disastrous admin very soon.”