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Montana Joins Arizona Suit Over Biden Immigration Policy


Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over changes to immigration policy.

Montana is joining Arizona in a suit aiming to stop new policies from President Joe Biden. One policy would put a moratorium on most deportations for 100 days, while another prioritizes deportation of noncitizens with a national security, border security, or public safety issue before others for the next 90 days. 

Knudsen called the policies "dangerous" in a news release.

The plaintiff's complaint filed in the suit alleges that the Department of Homeland Security violated an agreement signed with several states during the final days of Donald Trump’s administration.

The agreement requires states to assist the Department with border security and immigration enforcement. In return, the department was to give states a 180-day notice of any policy changes that would "negatively impact the state."

The complaint argues that Montana has grounds to sue because the state's law enforcement is concerned the policy will exacerbate drug trafficking problems associated with illegal immigration. 

In February, the Associated Press reported a federal judge already granted a temporary injunction requested by Texas to ban enforcement of Biden’s moratorium policy. The judge ruled that the Biden administration failed to show why the moratorium on most deportations is justified. 

A spokesperson for Knudsen said in an email that Montana and Arizona are continuing with their suit as it also addresses the other Biden immigration policy.

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.