AG Schmidt demands Biden Administration prohibit illegal reentry following deportation

August 26, 2021 – Attorney General Derek Schmidt has demanded the Biden Administration continue to prohibit illegal reentry following deportation.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he demands confirmation from the Biden Administration that it will faithfully defend a long-standing federal immigration statute that prohibits illegal reentry.

On Thursday, Schmidt said he joined a coalition of 19 other attorneys general to send a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding assurances by Sept. 17, 2021, that the U.S. Department of Justice will defend 8 U.S.C. subsection 1326, a law that governs illegal reentry.

According to AG Schmidt, the letter follows a recent district court ruling in which the Chief Judge for the District of Nevada struck down the law and prohibited the government from prosecuting immigrants who illegally reenter the U.S. after deportation. The statute has been on the record since 1952.

Schmidt said the attorneys general are concerned that the DOJ will follow recent patterns by not defending the law.

According to Schmidt, the move is particularly concerning given the U.S.’s unprecedented border crisis. In July, he said the U.S. Border Patrol reported over 200,000 encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, the highest monthly figure in 21 years.

In their letter, Schmidt said the attorneys general said that defense of federal immigration law is one of the most important tools for the government to ease the border crisis.

“Given that border security had reached the breaking point before Chief Judge Du issued her opinion, just imagine what awaits if you announce your intent not to appeal—an announcement that would, in effect, tell already-deported aliens that they are free to try re-entering again,” the attorneys general wrote. “Indeed, acquiescing in the district court’s opinion would be tantamount to announcing legalization of illegal re-entry. Moreover, under the district court’s reasoning, the United States may well be unable to enforce any immigration laws, which by their nature disparately impact the many billions of people living outside of our borders.”

Although the DOJ has filed a notice of appeal, Schmidt said that notice does not require it to ultimately appeal the ruling. The attorneys general requested that Attorney General Garland ensure them in writing by Sept. 17 that the Department will faithfully defend the law.

In addition to the letter, Schmidt said he successfully joined efforts with other states against weakened border security policies. On Tuesday, he said the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the states that the administration is required to keep in place a Trump-era policy that governs immigrants looking for asylum in the U.S. while litigation remains pending. Known as the Remain in Mexico Policy, he said the policy requires asylum seekers from third countries to remain in Mexico pending the outcome of their asylum hearings.

By Sarah Motter, 13 WIBW
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