West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is suing the Biden administration over its refusal to restore the Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy, saying that without it, fentanyl is flowing across the nation’s southern border and causing deaths in his state.
“Ending the Remain in Mexico policy will undoubtedly lead to an increase in illegal drug trafficking and thus senseless deaths from fentanyl,” Morrisey said in a statement issued Thursday. “I’ve long believed that a lawsuit should not be necessary to force the government to secure our southern border.”
However, he said his office sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in June, but the administration has “failed to respond to our concerns. The border is more porous than ever. In the face of such silence and inaction, and because so many lives are at stake, litigation is the only remedy left to West Virginia.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, names Mayorkas and the Department of Homeland Security, and asks the court to force the agency to reconsider its termination of the Remain in Mexico policy, which requires certain asylum seekers arriving in the border to stay in Mexico to await their asylum hearings in U.S. immigration court.
The Biden administration terminated the policy, and Morrisey, in the lawsuit, said that has caused more fentanyl to enter the country because border security personnel and other resources that would ordinarily stop smuggling and unlawful crossings have been reassigned.
Morrisey asks the court in the lawsuit to find that canceling the Remain in Mexico program was both rash and ill-considered, and to “remand the termination” of the policy and to order the defendants to “consider the impact the termination of MPP has on border security and the trafficking of fentanyl across the Southwest border into the United States.”