Federal judge, siding with Florida, blasts Biden administration on immigration

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Wetherell added that the Biden immigration policies were “akin to posting a flashing ‘Come In, We’re Open’ sign on the southern border. The unprecedented ‘surge’ of aliens that started arriving at the Southwest Border almost immediately after President Biden took office and that has continued unabated over the past two years was a predictable consequence of these actions.”

The ruling comes amid reports that the Biden administration is considering reopening previously shuttered detention centers to house migrant families.

Moody, whose office first filed the lawsuit against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other federal officials in March 2021, hailed the ruling.

“Today’s ruling affirms what we have known all along, President Biden is responsible for the border crisis and his unlawful immigration policies make this country less safe,” Moody said in a statement. “A federal judge is now ordering Biden to follow the law, and his administration should immediately begin securing the border to protect the American people.”

Jeremy Redfern, deputy press secretary for DeSantis, said in an email that “Judge Wetherell vindicated the governor’s actions and ruled that the Biden Administration is breaking federal immigration law by failing to fulfill the duties of his office and secure the nation’s border.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment on the ruling.

Florida, along with other Republican-led states such as Texas, has been sharply critical of immigration policies pursued by the Biden administration. DeSantis, who is expected to run for president, pushed for the creation of a contentious migrant relocation program that resulted in the state flying nearly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last September.

The state’s lawsuit took aim at immigration policies put in place right after Biden entered office, asserting that federal authorities were ignoring a federal law that requires those entering the country illegally to be detained and that undocumented migrants coming into Florida were costing the state.

The lawsuit also criticized a “parole” plus “alternatives to detention” policy first established in November 2021 and subsequently modified.

Federal officials maintained that Florida lacked the standing to challenge the case and asserted that they had the discretion to decide whether to release individuals apprehended inside the U.S. border and disputed that there were any blanket policies.

Wetherell ruled that the state did have standing, pointing to evidence presented by Florida that showed that more than 100,000 migrants have wound up in Florida as a result of the changes, including the addition of more than 17,000 students to public schools.

The trial also included testimony from top federal officials as well as documents and emails discussing the ramifications of the policies.

In his decision, Wetherell ruled that an overall non-detention policy does exist but that it was not subject to judicial review. The judge, however, ordered federal authorities to vacate the parole policy, although he said he would give them seven days to appeal his ruling before it takes effect.

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( With inputs from : )

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