The state of Arizona sued the U.S. federal government on Tuesday over President Joe Biden’s order to mandate vaccinations for all federal employees and contractors. The mandate includes fining businesses that do not enforce strict COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated workers, and affects between 80 million and 100 million workers.
Curiously, the mandate does not extend to illegal immigrants who enter the United States through the U.S.-Mexico border, numbers of which swelled to well over 200,000 in the month of August according to data from the Department of Homeland Security, per the Washington Post. The numbers topped 200,000 for the second month in a row and have been on a steady rise since Biden assumed office in late January.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s lawsuit is the first of many lawsuits expected to be filed by Republican-run states against the Biden administration over Biden’s plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic through sweeping mandates.
“The federal government cannot force people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Biden Administration is once again flouting our laws and precedents to push their radical agenda,” Brnovich wrote in a statement. “There can be no serious or scientific discussion about containing the spread of COVID-19 that doesn’t begin at our southern border.”
“Under our Constitution, the President is not a king who can exercise this sort of unbridled power unilaterally. And even George III wouldn’t have dreamed that he could enact such sweeping policies by royal decree alone,” Brnovich added.
The Arizona lawsuit states that “Biden’s vaccine mandate violates the Equal Protection Clause by favoring migrants that have crossed into the country illegally over legal U.S. citizens. The Biden Administration allows migrants to decline the vaccine, protecting their freedom and bodily autonomy more than American citizens,” according to a press release from Brnovich’s office.
“Even President Biden’s own Chief of Staff Ronald Klain acknowledged the federal government lacks the legal authority to impose a COVID-19 mandate but is doing so anyway with this ‘ultimate workaround,’” the release added, referring to Klain’s retweet of remarks from NBC News anchor Stephanie Ruhle who said, “OSHA doing this vaxx mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate workaround for the federal govt to require vaccinations.”
The Biden administration has sought to push its vaccine mandate through the U.S. workplace regulator, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It’s a mandate that the Washington Examiner said OSHA would likely struggle to enforce.
OSHA traditionally relies on complaints filed by employees in determining which companies to inspect. However, OHSA usually will not investigate until multiple complaints are filed.
“One big challenge for enforcing OSHA mandates is the fact that OSHA as an agency is historically very underfunded and very understaffed,” said Jennifer Shinall, a professor of law at Vanderbilt University.
Shinall also noted that employees can only file complaints under OSHA. They cannot file lawsuits against employers for violating OSHA rules, as they can under many other federal laws.