Concerned about the lack of testing of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra demanding to know what the Biden administration is doing to ensure that migrants apprehended crossing the border who are infected with COVID-19 or who have been exposed to it are not coming into contact with Americans. He gave Becerra until October 1 to respond. Considering Brnovich has sued the Biden administration multiple times, it appeared to be a threat that he would file another lawsuit if nothing was done.
Brnovich said in his letter, “The Biden administration has chosen the path of increasing government regulation at opposing individual liberties when it comes to handling COVID-19 in the midst of American communities. Yet this same administration has been nothing short of laissez-faire in dealing with tens of thousands of migrants that are pouring across our open border and being ferried across our nation during the same world-wide pandemic. This hypocrisy is stunning and fundamentally unfair to American citizens.”
He laid out several recent reports related to migrants spreading COVID-19. DHS found that over 18% of migrant families and 20% of unaccompanied minors crossing the border have COVID-19. Mark Morgan, the former U.S. border chief said 40,000 migrants with COVID-19 have been released into the country. More than 10,000 border patrol agents have tested positive, with 37 dying from COVID-19. The National Border Patrol Council said a lot of agents are currently in quarantine due to exposure.
At the same time, Brnovich noted, the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border for Fiscal Year 2021 is on schedule to be the highest number in decades. Tens of thousands of migrants aren’t being apprehended and end up in American communities.
Brnovich pointed out that he has sent numerous letters to the Biden administration about the crisis at the border, but has never received a response. Instead, “your department has taken the time to recently create The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity.”
Brnovich sent a scathing letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on August 9 demanding the Biden administration stop releasing COVID-19 migrants into the country. On June 4, he sent a letter to Mayorkas and Tae D. Johnson, acting director of ICE, expressing “grave concerns” about housing migrants in a hotel in Scottsdale near a residential neighborhood and school. Brnovich called on Biden to replace Mayorkas on August 13, citing his tenure as an “unmitigated disaster” for U.S. border security.
Brnovich currently has four ongoing lawsuits against the Biden administration related to border security. He sued DHS for violating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) through destructive immigration policies by halting the Trump administration’s “Migrant Protection Protocols” and border wall construction. The Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program, required asylum seekers to return to their point of entry and wait until their scheduled court hearing.
Another lawsuit against DHS challenged a Biden policy of suspending deportations. He filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the “Public Charge Rule.” The Public Charge Rule requires that migrants seeking to become U.S. citizens must be able to financially support themselves. The Biden administration failed to put up a defense. And he filed an amicus curiae brief in a lawsuit requesting to halt the Biden administration’s “Interim Guidance” policy of not enforcing laws against illegal immigration when it comes to crime.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].