Florida officials have filed suit against the Biden administration claiming that immigrant catch-and-release policies are “illegal” and are harming the Sunshine State’s “quasi-sovereign interests.”
In addition, Fox News reported, the suit alleges that the administration is violating federal law or is simply abusing its authority in ways that harm Florida.
Ashley Moody, Florida’s attorney general, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday as part of a wider effort with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to “uphold the rule of law despite the Biden administration’s decision to violate the law.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola, the network added, noting that the attorney general is not asking for a preliminary injunction.
Named in the suit are the Department of Homeland Security and its agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other DHS officials from Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Moody is suing the United States Government as well.
“The Biden administration’s illegal border policies cause Florida harm,” says the lawsuit, according to Fox News. “Many of the aliens illegally released by the Biden administration are arriving, or will arrive in Florida, harming the state’s quasi-sovereign interests and forcing it to incur millions of dollars in expenses.”
The network reports that per 8 United States Code Sect. 1225, when people arrive in the U.S. via ports of entry or when they are encountered crossing into the country illegally, they are classified as “arriving aliens” under immigration statutes.
Per the law, those people are supposed to remain in detention until it is determined whether they are permitted to enter the U.S. That also applies to anyone who is seeking asylum, the suit states; at that point, an immigration judge is supposed to decide if they are entitled to the claim before they are allowed to enter the country.
The exception to that provision is “parole authority” exercised by the government, which then permits illegal aliens to be released into the U.S. However, that is supposed to only occur on a “case-by-case basis” and even then only for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”
The lawsuit contends that the White House’s immigration policies are violating the letter of the law or that the releases amount to an abuse of the government’s parole authority.
“The government is not free to ignore the clear commands of Congress. It has claimed that it lacks the resources and detention capacity to process the surge of migrants at the border,” says the lawsuit, according to Fox News.
Moody also alleges in her suit that the Biden administration “has actively sought to eliminate measures that increase its resources and detention capacity, such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as the ‘wait in Mexico policy’), and has even asked Congress to reduce the number of immigration detention beds available to it.”
“Further, it is the Biden administration’s misguided policies that have encouraged more migrants to make the dangerous journey to the United States,” the suit says. “The government cannot, therefore, use a purported lack of resources as an excuse to ignore congressional mandates.”
In August, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration must reinstate the Trump-era “Remain In Mexico” – the MPP – which the president rescinded on his first day in office, calling it a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
Earlier this month, Texas filed suit against the administration for failing to adhere to the SCOTUS ruling and reinstate the program.
”It looks like to us they’re just stalling. We don’t know for sure all of the facts, that’s why we want discovery. But it seems like they’re using the excuse that they haven’t worked out their arrangement with Mexico,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said.
”I think they’re just trying to keep ignoring federal law, keep ignoring the Supreme Court ruling. The government doesn’t care about federal law; clearly, we’ve already established that. Now they don’t care about all the orders from the courts, including the Supreme Court,” he continued, adding: ”What we want is deadlines, we want some type of deadline for them to take action sooner rather than later. We won this about a month ago.”
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