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illegal immigration

Wyoming Joins In Lawsuit Over Biden Immigration Policy

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Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming has joined 19 other states in challenging the immigration polices of the administration of President Joe Biden.

Gov. Mark Gordon announced Thursday that Wyoming and the other states are asking the federal government to force the administration to reinstate a policy aimed at preventing entry into the United States by people who pose a health risk.

“The Biden Administration’s continued failure to fulfill its constitutional duty and secure our border impacts all Americans,” Gordon said. “When the federal government does not fulfill its responsibilities, states are compelled to take legal action to protect their residents from the impacts of this border crisis.”

The administration announced last month it will end in May what is referred to as “Title 42,” an order that allows immigration officers to prohibit people from entering the United States if they pose a health risk. 

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Louisiana on Thursday argues that the end of the rule will result in unchecked flows of undocumented aliens into the country.

“This suit challenges an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity; the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this Administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into unmitigated chaos and catastrophe,” the lawsuit said. 

The lawsuit challenges the repeal of the order on grounds the administration has failed to follow proper procedure and because there is no plan to deal with the resulting surge in illegal immigration the states said would result.

“(The repeal) failed to consider the impacts of the fact that there are huge numbers of aliens waiting at the southern border to cross the moment that Title 42 is rescinded,” it said.

The lawsuit asks the court to prevent the repeal of the order.

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Gordon Says Different Approach Needed At U.S-Mexico Border Following Visit

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By Robert Davis, The Center Square

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon says a “different approach is needed” to solve the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border following his visit there with other Republican governors.

“Wyoming citizens are impacted by a failure of the Biden administration to engage in its constitutional duty to secure our border,” Gordon said in a press release. “Seeing the conditions and hearing firsthand from agents on the ground made it clear that a different approach is needed and more resources are necessary to secure our border from drug trafficking and human smuggling.”

Gordon was among the 11 Republican governors to meet Wednesday at the border in Texas to demand action from the Biden administration.

The governor has been an outspoken critic of the administration’s immigration policies since the president took office. Gordon joined 25 other GOP governors recently in sending a letter requesting a meeting with President Biden on the matter. However, the president never responded to their meeting request, according to the governors.

The 26-member coalition also set forth a 10-point plan to address the immigration issues. Known as the Joint Policy Framework on the Border Crisis, the document calls for the federal government to refuse entry to immigrants to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the country.

Gorgon said that Border Patrol agents mentioned during the visit that cartels have been taking advantage of federal policies and dominate the drug and human trafficking markets.

Data from the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation shows a significant increase in the amount of fentanyl seized inside state borders.

According to Customs and Border Patrol data, the number of seizures at the southern border has increased 500% since August 2020.

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Wyoming Still Evaluating Ways To Help Border Crisis; Troops Still Not Mentioned

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If Wyoming’s governor is thinking about sending troops to help with the crisis on the U.S. – Mexico border, he’s not announcing it publicly.

Last week when asked if Gov. Mark Gordon might follow the lead of other states by sending personnel to the border to help the governors of Arizona and Texas, his spokesman said the office was “evaluating specifics of the requests.”

On Wednesday, the governor’s office published a press release providing a bit more insight on the thinking in the capitol but not mentioning troop deployment either.

So far the governors of Ohio, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Florida have said they will deploy troops or law enforcement officers to assist the two southern states.

That’s not to say Wyoming isn’t doing anything. What’s right for one state may not work for another state. 

The governor, as was told to Cowboy State Daily last week and in today’s press release, is looking for the right way to help with the border crisis.

The release stated that the governor’s office did offer “aerial assets” but upon further review, it appeared those assets “may not precisely match the needs of the requested border mission.”

Specifically, the state offered up its Cessna 208 surveillance aircraft equipped with a digital mapping camera.

If not the plane, then how could Wyoming help?

Wednesday’s announcement doesn’t provide any clues but does reiterate Gordon believes the change in policy at the border brings with it significant risks — even to the Cowboy State.

“Law-enforcement issues at the border and uncontrolled illegal immigration threaten every part of our nation, including Wyoming,” Gordon said.  

The U.S. Border Patrol told NBC News that over the last month it has encountered an average of 5,000 undocumented immigrants a day.

The agency further said that the rate in which Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent, is being smuggled from the deserts of Mexico through the town of El Paso is up 355% since last year and up 4,000% since 2019.

The Border Patrol said Mexican cartels are behind the explosive increase.

“It is clear that the Biden Administration is not addressing this problem with the level of seriousness it requires. Wyoming is ready and willing to provide support to address this critical issue,” Gordon said.

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Gordon Urges Biden Administration To Take Action At Border

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By Derek Draplin | The Center Square 

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and 19 other Republican governors sent a letter Tuesday to President Joe Biden urging him to secure the southern border and stem the influx of migrants illegally entering the country.

The governors who signed onto the letter allege that the administration’s policy changes and rhetoric have led to the ongoing crisis that they said is “too big to ignore and is now spilling over the border states into all of our states.”

The governors note in the letter that Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reported 172,000 encounters at the border in March, and almost 19,000 unaccompanied minors.

The letter also alleges that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “circumvented” states by asking private, nonprofit organizations to house unaccompanied minors.

“Allowing the federal government to place a potentially unlimited number of unaccompanied migrant children into our states’ facilities for an unspecified length of time with almost zero transparency is unacceptable and unsustainable,” the governors said. “We have neither the resources nor the obligation to solve the federal government’s problem and foot the bill for the consequences of this Administration’s misguided actions.” 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office recently estimated that the state spends $850 million a year on illegal immigration. Texas is among states suing the federal government of its handling of the border.

“This Administration has enticed a rush of migrants to our border and incentivized an influx of illegal crossings by using irresponsible rhetoric and reversing a slew of policies – from halting border wall construction to eliminating asylum agreements to refusing to enforce immigration laws,” the letter said. “Even officials of our neighbor, Mexico, reportedly conveyed concerns that the shift in U.S. policy is stoking illegal immigration and creating business for organized crime.”

“Federal, state, and local authorities are overwhelmed, and the situation on the ground is heartbreaking,” the letter continued, adding that “beyond the humanitarian crisis, the lack of border security is a criminal one, threatening the safety of American citizens.”

In April, Ducey declared a state of emergency in Arizona and deployed 250 National Guard troops to the border.

“Arizona has deployed all available resources, including the National Guard, but we need federal cooperation to secure the border,” Ducey said in a statement Tuesday.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement that the administration’s rhetoric “and the rollback of critical agreements with our allies have led to the inhumane treatment of tens of thousands of children and undermined a fragile immigration system.”

Of the nation’s 50 governors, 27 are Republicans and 23 are Democrats.

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Gordon: Wyoming Will Not House Illegal Immigrants

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has made it clear that any attempt by the federal government to move illegal immigrants to Wyoming will not be allowed.

“I want to state clearly and unequivocally that the State of Wyoming will not participate in relocation or housing efforts of illegal immigrants or unaccompanied minors, and I have made our position clear to Federal officials,” Gordon tweeted Friday.

The federal government is dealing with a surge of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from its border with Mexico. More than 22,000 migrant children are currently by the government in what the Associated Press has called “substandard facilities.”

Gordon joined other governors in neighboring states who have issued similar declarations.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem received national attention for her tweet which one immigration advocacy group called “heartless”.

“South Dakota won’t be taking any illegal immigrants that the Biden Administration wants to relocate. My message to illegal immigrants… call me when you’re an American,” Noem said.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on Tuesday declined a federal request to house unaccompanied migrant children, stating that resources should be used instead for Nebraskans.

“Nebraska is declining their request because we are reserving our resources for serving our kids.  I do not want our kids harmed as the result of President Biden’s bad policies,” he said.

Gordon said he was unaware of any federal immigration plans that include Wyoming but would “continue to actively monitor the situation and will respond forcefully as needed.”

The chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party said he believed Gordon’s message was political in nature and made in effort to appear more conservative than he really is.

“This was motivated by his fear of being primaried by the right-wing of his party in 2022,” Joe Barbuto said. “He saw this as an opportunity to jump on a bandwagon that might build him a little conservative cred and give him a couple of lines to use in campaign ads and the debates he’ll face during the next election.”

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Barrasso On Border Disaster: Finish Building Wall & Reinstate Remain-In-Mexico Policy

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President Joe Biden has made a number of missteps on immigration policy in his first few months in office, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said Wednesday.

Barrasso, who visited the southern border of the U.S. last week, said during an appearance on Fox News that Border Patrol agents told him the Trump administration’s “Remain-In-Mexico” policy – which President Biden canceled on the first day of his presidency – was working to stem the surge of illegal immigrants into the U.S.

Under Biden’s watch, Barrasso said, the president has, in effect, told the world “come to America and if you can get in, you can stay.”

“We saw it on the border, we saw it on the Rio Grande late at night as people were coming across on rafts and inflatable mattresses,” Barrasso said.

Barrasso said the next step for the illegal immigrants who have crossed the border will be to become citizens of the United States.

He said that shouldn’t surprise anyone as the person Biden put in charge of U.S. immigration policy on the southern border – Vice President Kamala Harris – has always “taken the side of illegal immigrants.”

“She’s the wrong person for the job because she’s for amnesty for illegal immigrants,” Barrasso said.  “She is somebody who has fought with the ICE agents and when she ran for president, she said illegal immigrants ought to receive free taxpayer-paid health insurance.”

Barrasso said if the Biden administration was interested in solving the border crisis, they would reinstate the “Remain-In-Mexico” policy and finish building the wall on the U.S. – Mexico border.

“We know what works. We know it from the Border Patrol. The wall works, they want us to finish the wall,” he said.

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Legislator to proceed with effort to ban ‘sanctuary cities.’

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Sanctuary cities

By James Chilton, Cowboy State Daily

CHEYENNE – A Casper legislator said he intends to continue his efforts to ban sanctuary cities in the state as momentum behind the issue continues to build amid the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Although no cities in Wyoming identify themselves as sanctuary cities, Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, said the prohibition he seeks needs to be spelled out as a part of state law.

“I think laws should be followed. I don’t want sanctuary cities here in Wyoming,” Gray said. “The people of Wyoming want us to get ahead of this and ban sanctuary cities; that’s what’s going to help us be successful.”

This month, Florida became the most recent state to pass legislation seeking to ban sanctuary cities – those cities where law enforcement agencies and local governments limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

It’s the latest development in a growing movement among states seeking to go on the record as opposing policies adopted by some cities and counties to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation or family separation by Immigrations and Custom Enforcement. 

The modern notion of sanctuary cities dates back to 1989, when San Francisco passed a “City and County of Refuge” ordinance blocking city employees from using city resources to assist federal enforcement of immigration law except for some legally-mandated situations. With Florida’s action, 12 states have now passed laws seeking to prohibit or discourage local adoption of sanctuary city policies, and the National Conference of State Legislatures counts at least 21 other state legislatures considering similar legislation in the near- to mid-future.

Wyoming has been on that latter list for several years now, with the most recent effort to curb sanctuary cities being spearheaded by Gray. 

“My bill would ban sanctuary cities in state statute and prevent any state funds from going to sanctuary cities,” he said. “I wrote it myself; it’s not based on any model legislation. But I think it’s comparable (to bans passed by other states).”

Gray’s first attempt at introducing a bill to block sanctuary cities during the 2018 budget session failed to get the two-thirds vote needed for introduction. This year, his bill’s latest incarnation, House Bill 151, didn’t face that hurdle and made it out of the House Corporations Committee on a 5-4 vote, only to be defeated in the House by a vote of 22 to 36.

Gray said he was “disturbed” by that vote, stressing that while Wyoming doesn’t presently have any sanctuary city policies in place — Jackson was erroneously listed as one back in 2010 — there’s no good reason to leave that option on the table.

Byron Oedekoven, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, said his association’s members largely consider the issue a moot point given the lack of any meaningful push for sanctuary city policies in Wyoming. His bigger concern, he said, would be if the Legislature were to try to prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with the feds.

“If they said ‘let’s do the opposite’ and they create a sanctuary law saying we couldn’t cooperate with the fed, we would be diametrically opposed to that,” Oedekoven said. “By virtue of our position and oath of office, we want to uphold the law; and the law is, if you have a warrant for the guy and he’s supposed to be arrested, we would want to see him arrested.”

Dave Fraser, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Municipalities, said his group took a “monitor” position on Gray’s bill in the previous session – effectively a neutral stance – also citing the lack of any real sanctuary city push among WAM’s membership. That said, Fraser expects the bill, or rather its potential successor, may get some attention at WAM’s annual membership convention next month in Sheridan.

“I’m aware of this as a national issue and I understand that some of our state representatives may want to take positions on that; but for our part, I’m not sure we would object to such legislation if none of our cities intended to go that route,” Fraser said. “If our cities were contemplating it, that would influence how active we would be on taking a position on that.”

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