COLUMBUS -- Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and two other state attorneys general are seeking to stop implementation of a new federal immigration policy they say that will halt nearly all deportations and handcuff U.S. immigration officers.
In a lawsuit filed today in Ohio by Yost and his counterparts in Arizona and Montana, the three argue 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.
Yost's office shared news of the lawsuit in an emailed press release Thursday.
“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 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, Yost said.
In the lawsuit, the attorneys general claim 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. 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, Yost said.
Under the 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 requires it. Instead, migrants will be released into communities in Ohio – at the cost of taxpayers through community supervision, Yost said.
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 AG claimed.
The attorneys general are asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to declare the policy illegal and to stop it from taking effect.