Court rules that Center for Immigration Studies’ Lawsuit Can Proceed against the Biden Administration

Research organization uses NEPA to fight for environmental justice

By CIS on August 17, 2022

Washington, D.C. (August 16, 2023) – The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) announced today that Judge Trevor McFadden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that its lawsuit, Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform (MCIR) v. Department of Homeland Security, can proceed against the Biden Administration for failing to conduct environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of its major immigration policies that have vastly increased the numbers of people crossing the border unlawfully.

CIS filed its complaint against the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice  on behalf of the MCIR, a citizen group that believes immigration levels should be decreased for environmental reasons, and six individual citizens, including residents of Arizona, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. CIS’s amended complaint alleged that the Biden Administration’s failure to perform any environmental analysis before implementing the immigration policies that have created the crisis at the border-- including ending the Remain in Mexico policy and “pausing” border wall construction, violated NEPA, which requires federal agencies to conduct environmental analysis and solicit public input before carrying out policies that “significantly impact the human environment.”

Julie Axelrod, the Center’s director of litigation, said, “The policies implemented unilaterally by the Biden Administration, which have encouraged more than a million foreign nationals to enter and settle in the United States, are the quintessential type of action to which NEPA-- a law passed out of a concern for population growth-- should apply. The Center looks forward to litigating whether the Biden Administration violated NEPA when it took the actions that have created the ongoing border crisis.”