Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Takes Aim at Biden Administration’s ‘Catch-and-Release' Policy
© REUTERS / KEVIN LAMARQUEUS President Joe Biden participates in a briefing about the building collapse in Surfside alongside Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis, in Miami, Florida U.S., July 1, 2021
© REUTERS / KEVIN LAMARQUE
The state of Florida is suing the Biden administration, claiming the administration’s catch-and-release policy at the US southern border is illegal, harms the state’s sovereign interests, and that officials are in defiance of the law.
Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody, filed the suit in the Pensacola Division of the Northern District of Florida and is not seeking a preliminary injunction. The defendants in the suit are the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as well as top officials and component agencies.
Florida not seeking a preliminary injunction is a pertinent detail. A preliminary injunction is a court order “to stop the defendant from continuing his or her allegedly harmful actions.” To be granted a preliminary injunction, it has to be shown that the party, Florida in this case, would suffer irreparable harm unless it is granted. A judge must consider “the extent of the irreparable harm, each party's likelihood of prevailing at trial, and any other public or private interests implicated by the injunction.”
The suit claims that the government’s immigration policy through its use of parole authority, which allows aliens into the interior immediately on a case by case basis, violates immigration law or is an abuse of its power. It further challenges the administration’s claim that a lack of resources is the reason for their liberal use of parole authority.
The suit states that the Biden administration "has actively sought to eliminate measures that increase its resources and detention capacity,” and that its “misguided policies have encouraged more migrants to make the dangerous journey to the United States."
The lawsuit also alleges that the administration’s catch and release policy will see illegal immigrants “arrive in Florida, ... forcing it to incur millions of dollars in expenses." A study from 2018 found that of Florida’s 732,000 illegal immigrants, 46% come from Central America and Mexico, who make up the bulk of entries at the southern border. Most experts do point to illegal immigrants costing states and the country as a whole money, but the exact cost is difficult, if not impossible to determine.
Along with filing the suit, the state of Florida is suing the United States. The legal actions taken by Florida are in conjunction with executive orders by Governor Ron DeSantis to tackle illegal immigration.
Executive Order 21-223 will “prohibit all Florida agencies under the purview of the Governor from facilitating illegal immigration into Florida, unless otherwise required by federal or state law, and require the collection of information from state officials on the scope and costs of illegal immigration in Florida.”