Judge Rejects Arizona’s Attempt to Hijack Environmental Laws for Anti-Immigrant Agenda
Last week, a Trump-appointed district judge denied the State of Arizona’s request to preliminarily enjoin (block) five different immigration-related policies of the Biden Administration on environmental law grounds. In its lawsuit, Arizona claims that the various policies they challenge—which includes the attempted termination of Remain in Mexico, the cessation of border wall construction, and the circumstances under which migrants are fined for failing to comply with orders to depart the country—could result in an increase in the U.S. population. Arizona claims further that the increase in population allegedly caused by these disparate policies (which it collectively dubs the “Population Augmentation Program”) could have an environmental impact, and that therefore the Biden Administration was required to go through extensive procedures (under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA)) before the policies could be implemented. In rejecting Arizona’s motion, the judge held
that the NEPA does not allow Arizona to challenge “an amalgamation of individual programs and policies in this fashion.” The Biden Administration’s request to dismiss Arizona’s lawsuit in its entirety is fully briefed and awaiting a decision.
Early Judge-Shopping Shenanigans in Texas’s Challenge to the Central American Minors (CAM) Program
As we reported in our last newsletter, in late January the State of Texas filed suit challenging the Central American Minors (CAM program), which since 2014 has permitted certain nationals of the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) with lawful status in the United States to be reunited here with their children who remained in dangerous circumstances in their home countries. There are 27 different courthouses where Texas could have filed this suit, and it chose to file in Amarillo, where it had a 95% chance of the case being assigned to Judge Kacsmaryk—the Trump-appointed conservative judge who first ruled that the Biden Administration was required to restart the Remain in Mexico program (in the case that the Supreme Court may soon hear). Unfortunately for Texas
, its CAM challenge was one of the five percent of cases randomly assigned to Chief Judge Lynn (a Clinton appointee) instead. But rather than take the loss on its judge-shopping gambit, a few days later Texas belatedly claimed that its CAM challenge is “related” to its Remain in Mexico lawsuit (even though it is not), and therefore should be re-assigned to Judge Kacsmaryk. The U.S. Department of Justice, representing the Biden Administration, has opposed
the reassignment request as “transparent forum shopping.” Texas’s request to pick its own judge remains pending.
Of course, we are eagerly waiting to learn if and when SCOTUS will hear the Remain in Mexico case, and we let you all know as soon as we do.
Thanks for reading,