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Idaho aims to join lawsuit against lifting asylum limits

By Keith Ridler Associated Press

BOISE – The Idaho governor and attorney general said Tuesday they are seeking to add Idaho to the list of states that have filed a lawsuit to prevent federal officials from ending a public health rule that allows many asylum seekers to be turned away at the southern U.S. border.

Republican Gov. Brad Little and Republican Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said they are working together to join the lawsuit filed earlier this month by Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri.

The lawsuit challenges the Biden administration’s planned May 23 end to border controls known as Title 42. The order was imposed nearly two years ago by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over coronavirus concerns.

“The Trump Administration invoked the Title 42 restrictions to protect the American people, and it worked,” Little said in a statement. “The policy kept tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from crossing the border. Idaho’s participation in this multistate lawsuit reinforces the fact that border security is interconnected to the health and safety of American citizens.”

Wasden said the lawsuit is “yet another example of states being forced to take action because Congress continues to refuse to address an issue that should be its priority.”

Little and Wasden said Idaho and other states received an invitation to join the lawsuit Tuesday morning. The two said they began a review of the lawsuit and then took steps to make sure Idaho is represented.

Republican-led state governments have been fighting the Democratic administration’s rollback of some immigration policies.

The policy at the center of the lawsuit went into effect under President Donald Trump in March 2020. Since then, migrants trying to enter the U.S. have been expelled more than 1.7 million times.

The lawsuit says the policy is “the only safety valve preventing this Administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated chaos and catastrophe.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced April 1 that it would end the policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The government said it was already making plans to erect tents and take other steps to prepare for an expected influx of migrants.

Little has long been critical of Biden’s handling of security at the U.S.-Mexico border. Last summer, he sent five Idaho State Police troopers on a 21-day mission to assist Arizona State Police in drug interdiction.