PHOENIX (AP) — The Republican attorney general of Arizona, locked in a tough U.S. Senate primary where border security is a top GOP issue, said Monday the governor could use National Guard troops and state law enforcement to forcibly return migrants across the border to Mexico. regardless of federal immigration laws.
the formal legal opinion by Attorney General Mark Brnovich does not have the force of law. And a constitutional expert said the constitutional provision he cites is meant to constrain states, not empower them.
“I think the invasions the Framers had in mind were invasions staged by the governments of other countries, not by disorganized undocumented aliens,” wrote Paul Bender, professor of constitutional law at Arizona State University, in an email.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s advice came in response to a request from a GOP state lawmaker. He underscored his demand at a press conference last month where he was joined by two former Trump administration officials who urged Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to use war powers to repel a wave of immigration illegal.
Brnovich embraced that theory in Monday’s opinion, noting that the self-defense and state invasion clauses of the U.S. Constitution are not limited to an invasion by a hostile state.
Ducey’s spokesperson responded by saying the governor has already had National Guard troops on the Arizona border for nearly a year.
Ducey has aggressively challenged President Joe Biden’s border policies, including in last month’s State of the State Address, when he said “the White House and Congress have decided to turn a blind eye” to what he called “a national crisis”.
Brnovich is among five Republicans vying in August’s primary election for the right to face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in November.
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