April 7, 2023
IRLI shows opening the floodgates to a population surge violates environmental protection laws
WASHINGTON—On Wednesday, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in DC federal district court in a case challenging numerous immigration actions of the administration based on their disastrous environmental impact.
In its brief, IRLI shows U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden that these actions, by ramping down enforcement and thus causing a flood of illegal entries, have created a sudden spike in population of several million. Despite the predictability of this result, and its obvious, negative impact on the environment, the administration made no study, and issued no assessment, of these actions’ environmental effects, even though it was required to do so by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Indeed, IRLI shows, in a prior action involving extending the compliance deadline of the Real ID Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was happy to comply with NEPA, because it could quickly conclude that any environmental impact of extending the deadline would be inconsequential, and thus skip any further environmental study or assessment of the measure. But when it comes to immigration actions that have an obvious, massive environmental impact, DHS skips over NEPA compliance entirely, without any explanation or even comment. This inconsistent approach to NEPA compliance means that the administration’s immigration actions should be vacated as arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act.
“Clearly, DHS desperately wants to avoid the impossible task of explaining, in detail, why adding millions of illegal aliens to our population does not harm the environment, or why the harm it does cause is somehow ‘worth it,’” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “But a court of law is bound to apply the NEPA statute as written. We hope Judge McFadden will do just that here, and vacate and remand these actions for environmental assessment, however awkward it may be for the administration to have to perform it.”
The case is Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform v. DHS, No. 1:20-cv-3438 (D.D.C.).
Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date with immigration reform in the United States.
Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA) is a non-partisan affiliation of talented attorneys dedicated to pursuing cases that serve the national interest when it comes to immigration law.
If you are interested in joining the network, visit the AUSA website.