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This was an appeal in a case where Arizona challenges at least five different immigration-related policies of the Biden administration, principally on the ground that they allegedly violate an environmental law.  Arizona’s main contention is that since the various policies could result in an increase in the U.S. population, and because that increase in population could have an environmental impact, the Biden Administration was required to (but did not) fulfill extensive procedural requirements before implementing the challenged policies.  

Shortly after filing suit, Arizona requested a preliminary injunction, asking the district court to enjoin (block) the challenged policies while this lawsuit proceeds to final judgment.  After briefing and oral argument, Judge Lanza issued an opinion on February 7, 2022 that denied Arizona’s motion for a preliminary injunction in all respects.  Two months later—at the last possible minute—Arizona appealed that decision.  

The week before Arizona’s deadline for filing its opening brief on the appeal, Arizona instead voluntarily dismissed its appeal, stating that it preferred instead to focus on the litigation in the district court (which Arizona ultimately dismissed voluntarily in early 2023.

Technical Summary

Arizona’s amended complaint challenges at least the following (alleged) policies or actions, which Arizona collectively dubs the “Population Augmentation Program”:  (1) a cessation of border wall construction; (2) the attempted termination of the Remain in Mexico (aka “RMX”) program;  (3) a change in policy regarding when migrants should be assessed fines for failing to comply with departure orders; (4) newly created exceptions to the “Title 42” CDC orders; and (5) immigration enforcement guidance, issued in February 2021, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to consider when prioritizing cases for enforcement and deportation (e.g. whether an individual is a national security or public safety threat).  Arizona alleges that the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) required the Biden Administration to prepare a “programmatic” environmental impact statement (EIS) for this alleged “Population Augmentation Program.”  In addition, Arizona challenges the alleged cessation of border wall construction and the termination of RMX as independently violative of NEPA, as well as on other grounds.

Judge Lanza’s decision denying the motion for a preliminary injunction was premised in significant part on Arizona’s apparent lack of standing for at least some of its claims


Latest Updates

  • 09/09/2022
    Arizona moves to dismiss appeal
  • 07/22/2022
    Stay lifted
  • 04/28/2022
    Appeal stayed

Full Timeline and Documents

  • 04/11/2022
    Appeal docketed
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