The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia gave the go ahead this week for a lawsuit brought by the Center for Immigration Studies. Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform (MCIR) v. Department of Homeland Security was filed by CIS on behalf of MCIR, “a citizen group that believes immigration levels should be decreased for environmental reasons” and six other individuals. It contends that DHS failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) since the agency has never conducted an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) related to immigration.

NEPA has been in effect since 1970 and requires all federal agencies to prepare an EIS to assess the “environmental impact of and alternatives to major federal actions significantly affecting the environment.”

In its complaint, CIS alleges 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.’

On Tuesday, Judge Trevor McFadden ruled that the lawsuit may proceed, saying:

For now, the Court accepts the [CIS] Coalition’s factual allegations as true and 'presum[es] that general allegations embrace those specific facts that are necessary to support [a] claim.' At summary judgment, however, the Coalition must offer admissible evidence affirmatively establishing its standing to proceed and entitlement to vindication on the merits.

The next court hearing is set for September 29.

Julie Axelrod, CIS' 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 Associated Press wrote about the story here.
CIS' press release is here.

Updated: Tue, Sep 27th 2022 @ 1:59pm EDT