Florida sues Biden admin for violating federal immigration law with 'catch-and-release' policies

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed the lawsuit "as part of a joint effort with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to 'uphold the rule of law despite the Biden administration's decision to violate the law.'"

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Tuesday, the state of Florida filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, saying that the White House's "illegal" catch-and-release policies along the United States souther border violate federal immigration law, and that officials are abusing their authority.

According to Fox News, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed the lawsuit on Tuesday "as part of a joint effort with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to 'uphold the rule of law despite the Biden administration's decision to violate the law.'"

"The defendants in the suit are the Department of Homeland Security, its component agencies, like Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as well as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, top officials from ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)," wrote Fox News.

Moody is also reportedly suing the United States itself.

"The Biden administration's illegal border policies cause Florida harm," the lawsuit, obtained by Fox News, states. "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."

According to US code 1225, those coming into the US either through ports of entry or being caught crossing the border illegally are considered "arriving aliens" under immigration laws.

"Under U.S. code, those individuals are required to be detained until a decision is made as to whether they are to be admitted to the country. This rule applies even if the individual is claiming asylum--an immigration judge would determine if they are entitled to asylum before release into the US interior," wrote Fox News.

The only exception to the rules stated above is the federal government's "parole authority" which allows a "case-by-case basis for letting aliens into the US immediately, only for "urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit."

The lawsuit claims that the Biden administration's current immigration policies violates these rules, or is an abuse of their parole authority.

"The government is not free to ignore the clear commands of Congress," the lawsuit states. "It has claimed that it lacks the resources and detention capacity to process the surge of migrants at the border."

The suit alleges 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 lawsuit says. "The government cannot, therefore, use a purported lack of resources as an excuse to ignore congressional mandates."

According to Fox News, Moody's office said that since January when Biden took office, the United States has released at least 225,000 migrants at the border.

She said that many of those illegal border crossers come to Florida, where the state spends more than $100 million per year arresting criminal illegal aliens and providing series for those there unlawfully.

Florida is asking the court to "hold unlawful and set aside" the Biden administration's policy of "releasing arriving aliens subject to mandatory detention, of paroling aliens without engaging in case-by-case adjudication or abiding by the other limits on that authority; and of failing to serve charging documents or initiate removal proceedings against plainly inadmissible aliens who are being released into the interior of the United States."

"Florida is also asking the court to issue 'permanent injunctive relief,' compel the Biden administration to comply with requirements pursuant to US code; issue declaratory relief declaring the policy unlawful; and award Florida costs and reasonable attorney's fees," according to Fox News.


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