Lawsuit Charges Department Of Homeland Security Ignored Our Nation’s Preeminent Environmental Law
Immigration Reform Law Institute Sues Administration for Ignoring National Environmental Policy Act on Immigration
(October 17, 2016 — Washington, D.C.) - Today, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of California against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for ignoring our nation’s preeminent environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). For the last 46 years, NEPA has required any agency considering an action that will affect the environment to analyze and publicize those effects. IRLI represents Whitewater Draw Natural Resource Conservation District, Arizona Association of Conservation Districts, Californians for Population Stabilization, New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, and four other plaintiffs against DHS, which has failed to investigate the environmental impact of our nation’s immigration policies.
Julie B. Axelrod, IRLI’s lead counsel on the case, says, “Our lawsuit will demonstrate that legal and illegal immigration have a very significant impact on the environment, which DHS has spent the last 46 years ignoring.”
DHS, like its predecessor agency Immigration and Naturalization Service, has never considered or analyzed the enormous “impacts to the human environment” of legal and illegal immigration, as required by NEPA. Between 1990 and 2010, the US population grew by over 61 million people due to expansive immigration policies and lax enforcement—yet even over this intense period of immigration, DHS ignored NEPA’s requirement to conduct analysis on the environmental impacts. DHS regulations do not address or even acknowledge that unauthorized border crossing itself damages the environment.
Former Governor of Colorado Richard Lamm of Denver, a member of one of the plaintiffs in the suit, said, “Conservatives and liberals alike should be shocked at the environmental effects of out-of-control immigration. It is environmental malpractice to ignore immigration.”
Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director, states, “The immigration policies implemented by DHS have had an enormous impact on the environment by causing explosive population growth. Yet DHS has ignored NEPA, the bedrock of the nation’s environmental statutory framework, for decades.”
Additional information about the filed complaint can be found here.