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Dozens Of Attorneys General Call On Congress To Give Them Power To Enforce Immigration Laws

  More than half of the state attorneys general in the U.S. signed on to a letter Monday calling for Congress to pass an immigration bill th...

 More than half of the state attorneys general in the U.S. signed on to a letter Monday calling for Congress to pass an immigration bill that would allow states to enforce certain federal immigration laws as the border crisis continues to hammer the country. 

The letter, addressed to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and signed by 26 state attorneys general, requested Congress to pass the Immigration Enforcement Partnership Act of 2023, which was introduced by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) in March. The bill, HR 1337, would grant AGs authority to request the Department of Homeland Security to either enforce immigration laws or authorize state officials to enforce the federal laws. 

“Controlling the border is the most fundamental duty of any national government. When our federal government fails to defend that border, the states must be given authority to join in the enforcement of immigration laws,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said in a statement. “I’m proud to co-sign this letter in support which would empower U.S. States everywhere to do the job the federal government refuses to do.” 

Under HR 1337, the DHS has 30 days of receiving a request from a state AG to “ensure that [immigration] duties are adequately fulfilled by DHS officers and employees or authorize that state’s officials to fulfill such duties.” The bill adds that the “state attorney general may sue DHS for failure to meet this bill’s requirements.” 

Since President Joe Biden took over in the White House, illegal immigration has spiked dramatically, with over seven million people crossing the border illegally, according to the letter. Among the millions who have bypassed U.S. law to enter the country, 280 people on the terror watch list were apprehended attempting to enter the country since the start of Fiscal Year 2021, the letter added.

“And these are just the terrorists the federal government was able to capture—many more enter our country undetected,” the letter states. “The horrific Hamas attacks on Israeli citizens demonstrate the profound risks created by our open border.”

The letter was authored by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who said she finds it “surprising to us that H.R. 1337 and other similar proposed laws have received so little attention.” Republicans gained control of the U.S. House following the 2022 midterm elections, and HR 1337 was introduced a few months later, but the bill has now sat for over eight months with no action taken on it. 

“If we take action now to give States the authority to do the job the Biden administration refuses to do, we could prevent another illegal immigration record next year, start to curb American deaths caused by Mexican and Chinese fentanyl and reduce the number of terrorists entering our country,” Moody added. 


Along with Skrmetti and Moody, the AGs who lined up to sign the letter addressing the ongoing border crisis are from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The AGs also urged Congress to act quickly on the bill and hold a hearing on it soon. 

“It is becoming clear that the judicial system alone is not a sufficient battlefield to quickly and adequately address the urgent crisis President Biden has created,” said Moody.

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