Federal judge blocks Biden admin from releasing illegal immigrants without court dates hours before Title 42 expires

“It is inconceivable that [the Biden administration] waited until yesterday to formulate this policy, particularly since they have known for quite some time that the Title 42 Order was going to expire tonight.”

A federal judge on Thursday night blocked the Biden administration from implementing a policy that allows for illegal immigrants to be released without court dates.

The ruling came just hours before the end of the Title 42 public health order, a part of the US Code addressing public health emergencies that was used during the pandemic to help US officials gain improved operational control of the border, was scheduled to expire.

In response to a lawsuit brought by Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis‘ administration, Judge T. Kent Wetherell II imposed a two-week restraining order on the Biden administration policy which would have seen the migrants released on "parole with conditions." 

Wetherell wrote in the ruling, “DHS is enjoined from implementing or enforcing the parole policy contained in the May 10, 2023, Memorandum from US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, titled ‘Policy on Parole with Conditions in Limited Circumstances Prior to Issuance of a Charging Document (Parole with Conditions).’ This TRO will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time to correspond with the expiration of the Title 42 Order and to give Defendants an opportunity to seek an emergency stay from a higher court.”

The memo cited in the ruling was written by US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz on Wednesday and said that the CBP needed to “consider whether processing personnel and resources are necessary to process other noncitizens in BP custody or accomplish enforcement actions that are immediately critical to border security for the greater public benefit” and would have allowed migrants into the country on parole if the agency was facing overcrowding.

The process is usually reserved for "urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit," but the memo called the practice "parole with conditions" as the illegal immigrants are required to make an appointment with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or request a Notice to Appear by mail.

Earlier Thursday, Wetherell had ordered the Biden administration to respond to the lawsuit from Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Wetherell, noted in the ruling that he “fails to see a material difference” between the Biden administration’s new parole policy and the one the judge had previously determined was unconstitutional in March.

A previous lawsuit filed by the Sunshine State against the Biden administration asserted that authorities were ignoring a federal law requiring migrants entering the country illegally to be detained and criticized a parole and “alternatives to detention” policy created in November 2021 which has since been modified. “… In both instances, aliens are being released into the country on an expedited basis without being placed in removal proceedings and with little to no vetting and no monitoring,” Wetherell wrote in the order.

Wetherell added, “It is inconceivable that [the Biden administration] waited until yesterday to formulate this policy, particularly since they have known for quite some time that the Title 42 Order was going to expire tonight.”

In response to the ruling, communications director for DeSantis Taryn Fenske tweeted: ".@govrondesantis & @ashleymoody beat Biden, again! SUES Feds and is GRANTED a temporary restraining order on illegal immigrant parole release policy."

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