Montana joins deportation lawsuit against Biden administration

March 9, 2021Shahid Haque

The Montana Free Press reports:

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has signed the state on to a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its January directive to largely suspend deportations of noncitizens except in cases that pose a threat to national security.

. . .

The potential impact of Biden’s change in deportation policy on Montana, as opposed to states that border Mexico or have large federal detention centers, will be debated in court proceedings.

“We do not have any long-term holding facilities for immigrant detainees,” said Shahid Haque, president of the Border Crossing Law Firm in Helena and a former immigration law professor at the University of Montana. “When ICE arrests someone in Montana, they are moved within days to a federal detention facility in Tacoma, Washington or Las Vegas, Nevada. If anyone was released from custody, it would be in those states.”

Haque also disputed that drug trafficking in Montana can be connected to newly arrived immigrants, adding that someone accused of such a crime “would have to stand for trial in state court before being turned over to immigration for deportation. Since drug trafficking is an aggravated felony, the person would remain an enforcement priority for ICE, and it would be unlikely that they would release the person.”

A hearing for the case has yet to be scheduled.

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