Oklahoma City, OK – Attorney General John O’Connor is joining a coalition of 14 states suing the Biden administration over yet another unlawful immigration rule (Asylum Rule). The new rule largely removes federal immigration judges from the asylum review process and instead gives asylum officers within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unprecedented authority to grant asylum to immigrants. The new rule not only violates federal laws and bypasses Congress but also drastically erodes asylum integrity safeguards.

“President Biden continues to implement disastrous immigration policies that further burden our Oklahoma communities,” said Attorney General O’Connor. “This rule is a radical attempt to encourage immigrants to illegally enter our country. This undermines the rule of law. It is time for the federal government to take responsibility for the growing crisis at our border.”

The Biden administration published the Asylum Rule in late March, applying the rule to new arrivals at U.S. borders who are making asylum claims. Federal law requires that immigration judges within the Department of Justice (DOJ) make the final determinations for immigrants’ asylum claims. However, under the new Asylum Rule, that power would be largely transferred to DHS asylum officers who are far more susceptible to political control. This will undoubtedly guarantee an increase in the rate of false asylum claims being granted. Additionally, the Asylum Rule violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101, the Homeland Security Act, and the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

The coalition argues the Biden administration did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when promulgating the Asylum Rule, offers arbitrary and capricious reasoning, and denies the public a meaningful chance to comment on the rule before issuance. Indeed, the changes are so significant that the federal agencies take over 3,100 words even to summarize the changes, which include at least 23 significant amendments by the Biden administration’s own count.

Furthermore, the Biden administration failed to analyze the interaction between the Asylum Rule and its proposed termination of Title 42, set to become effective on May 23, which will cause a massive increase in illegal immigration and in non-meritorious asylum claims that are granted. The Asylum Rule will go into effect merely eight days later, causing an exponential increase in illegal border crossings. The effect will be to stack a crisis upon a crisis.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. Joining General O’Connor are the Attorneys General of Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, and South Carolina. 

View a copy of the complaint here