Judge halts immigration policy challenged by MT, AZ, OH officials

by Seaborn Larson

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, left, and Bryan Lockerby, administrator of the state Department of Criminal Investigation, take part in a roundtable discussion on human trafficking in January in Missoula. -TOM BAUER, Missoulian

Human trafficking meeting

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen hailed a federal judge’s ruling this week to block new deportation rules set out by the Biden administration.

Arizona, Ohio and Montana challenged the new policy in November in federal court against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorka. The guidance ordered DHS officials to prioritize deportations of immigrants who pose a threat to national safety.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Newman of Ohio granted the states’ motion to block DHS from carrying out certain provisions of the new policy while the legal proceedings play out.

“This is a great victory for the rule of law, border security and public safety across the country,” Knudsen said in a press release, adding that drugs from Mexico end up in Montana communities.

Newman also denied a motion by DHS to dismiss the states’ case. The judge acknowledged the executive branch’s “significant authority over immigration,” but noted Congress, too, has broad powers over the matter.

“… Can the executive displace clear congressional command in the name of resources allocation and enforcement goals?” Newman wrote. “Here, the answer is no.”