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Judge Halts Biden Admin From Releasing Illegal Migrants Without Setting Court Dates

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The White House responded with anger Friday after a federal judge on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enacting a policy that would enable the release of migrants without assigning court dates just hours before the expiration of the Title 42 public health order.

As reported by Fox News, Judge T. Kent Wetherell II, a Trump appointee, put in place a two-week restraining order on President Joe Biden’s policy, which would see migrants released on “parole with conditions.”

A recently issued Border Patrol memo outlined a policy stating that migrants can be granted entry into the country on parole, a process usually reserved for cases involving urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, in instances where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encounters overcrowding, the outlet reported. Referred to as “parole with conditions,” this practice necessitates that migrants schedule an appointment with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or request a Notice to Appear by mail.

“Under a parole release, migrants are rapidly released into the country, do not get an alien registration number and do not receive a court date,” Fox News noted, adding:

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The use of parole is being authorized if a sector capacity goes above 125%, if agents apprehend 7,000 a day over 72 hours or if average time in custody goes above 60 hours. Agents have been encountering over 10,000 migrants a day since Monday, and there are no signs of that slowing down with the looming end of Title 42, which is expected to bring an even bigger wave with it.

Title 42 has been used since March 2020 by both the Trump and Biden administrations to return millions of migrants rapidly at the southern border due to COVID-19. With the end of the order coinciding with the end of the COVID-19 national emergency on Thursday evening, migrants have flocked to the border in the hope that they will be more likely to be admitted to the country. 

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit against the implementation of the policy, contending that it was essentially the same as the “Parole + ATD” (Alternatives to Detention) policy that had been previously blocked by the same judge in March.

Wetherell agreed and issued his order accordingly.

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“…The Court has no trouble concluding that Florida has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits because the challenged policy appears to be materially indistinguishable from the Parole+ATD policy vacated in Florida—both in its purpose (reducing overcrowding at border patrol facilities) and manner of operation (releasing aliens into the country without first issuing a charging document placing them in immigration proceedings and simply directing the aliens to report to ICE within a specified period for further processing),” he said.

Fox News added: “DHS had warned that blocking the use of parole has the potential to cause chaos at the border, and estimated that doing so would result in an overwhelming 45,000 migrants in custody by the end of May.”

But Wetherell did not find the government’s argument compelling.

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“Putting aside the fact that even President Biden recently acknowledged that the border has been in chaos for ‘a number of years,’ Defendants’ doomsday rhetoric rings hollow because, as explained in detail in Florida, this problem is largely one of Defendants’ own making through the adoption and implementation of policies that have encouraged the so-called ‘irregular migration’ that has become fairly regular over the past 2 years,” he said.

Following the ruling, the Biden administration raged at the judge, calling his ruling “sabotage,” while other federal agencies claimed the action was “harmful.”

“So let me just say on the ruling that you just laid out to me. So, look, the way we see that it’s sabotage, it’s pure and simple,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a White House press briefing on Friday. “That’s how that reads to us.”

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