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Ohio leads states’ lawsuit against new federal deportation policy

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and two other state attorneys general are suing to try to stop...
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and two other state attorneys general are suing to try to stop a new federal immigration policy that will halt nearly all deportations.(FOX19 NOW)
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 11:59 AM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and two other state attorneys general are going to court to try to stop a new federal immigration policy that he says “will halt nearly all deportations and handcuff U.S. immigration officers responsible for protecting our communities.”

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in downtown Cincinnati, Yost and his counterparts in Arizona and Montana 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.”

This policy directly violates federal law, which requires ICE to remove within 90 days any alien who has received a final deportation order, the lawsuit notes.

More than 1.7 million migrants were detained along the southwest border in fiscal year 2021, the highest total ever recorded - a trend that Yost says “is sadly 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.

“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.”

FOX19 NOW left a message seeking comment with the office of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. We will update this story once we hear back.

Under the new 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 says.

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, according to the lawsuit.

Ohio is “required to stretch its scarce resources even further when DHS fails to carry out its statutory duty to deport aliens with final orders of removal as required by law, the suit states.

“The policy will create increased crime and drug trafficking in Ohio’s communities, requiring additional expenditure by law enforcement. In addition, by failing to deport aliens with final orders of removal and by driving increased illegal immigration, Ohio will be forced to expend limited resources on education, healthcare, public assistance, and general government services.

“By removing the likelihood of being apprehended and removed, (this new policy) will further incentivize illegal activity already surging across the southern border, bringing crime and drugs to Ohio’s communities. Failure to enforce immigration law has already created devastating consequences. Fentanyl seizures are up 4,000 percent in one sector of the southern border and fentanyl seizures border-wide have similarly reached record levels. Fentanyl has a devastating impact on Ohio’s citizens.

The percentage of prohibited drugs containing fentanyl in Ohio has reached an all-time high this year.

Ohio, according to a 2019 estimate cited in the lawsuit, has 89,000 illegal migrants living in the state.

“According to the same estimate, half of this population is uninsured, two-thirds live below 200 percent of the poverty level, and 92% of school-aged children attend school. Ohio schools spend more than $12,000 per pupil, on average, which it provides regardless of immigration status.”

The attorneys general are asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, which is located in downtown Cincinnati, to declare the nonenforcement policy illegal and to stop it from taking effect.

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