Citing national environmental law, Arizona is suing to overturn the White House’s cancellation of border wall construction and the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
“It is estimated that every person, every migrant that crosses our desert is bringing six to eight pounds – plastic bags, drug paraphernalia, backpacks – that’s left in our desert. That’s about a million pounds of trash in one month,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
Migrants, like everyone else, “need housing, infrastructure, hospitals and schools. They drive cars, purchase goods, and use public parks and other facilities. Their actions also directly result in the release of pollutants, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which directly affects air quality. All of these activities have significant environment impact,” states the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court last week.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to evaluate the impact of all major government actions that may significantly affect the quality of the “human environment” and to issue environmental impact statements for ones that would. In enacting the 1970 law, Congress expressed particular concern about “the profound influences of population growth.”
While the White House has not commented on the lawsuit, Mark Krikorian at the Center for Immigration Studies said the administration is flouting congressional intent.
“The Democrats’ diagnosis is that the massive and growing flow of illegal aliens is not being processed fast enough into the U.S. The numerical immigration limits and eligibility rules established by Congress are being comprehensively subverted [in a]conscious decision to permit the large-scale admission of illegal aliens and to collude in systematic abuse of our asylum law.”
Even before the current spike in border crossings, the urban clustering effect of migrants has contributed to sharply higher housing costs in U.S. cities. By contrast, Arizona’s enactment of a universal E-Verify law was credited with lower costs as illegal aliens departed the state.
“Nothing should be more bipartisan than making infrastructure more accessible and housing more affordable for working people and young families. The economic and social hardships caused by runaway population growth are serious and become more serious the longer they are not addressed,” wrote Dale Wilcox at the Immigration Reform Law Institute.
Brnovich added: “It’s the pinnacle of hypocrisy for the Biden administration to claim it wants to protect our environment, while not enforcing federal statutes that are specifically designed for that purpose.”