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A federal judge appointed by then-President Donald Trump has refused to toss out a major lawsuit against the Biden administration regarding immigration and border enforcement.
According to Republic Brief, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security in February alleging that the agency is exceeding its authority by releasing illegal aliens into the interior of the country, putting undue financial and other stress and strain on states.
U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell II ruled this week that the lawsuit can proceed, according to Law.com:
The lawsuit alleges that the Biden administration has violated immigration laws through policies that have led to people being released from detention after crossing the U.S. border with Mexico. Also, it alleges that the releases affect Florida because of issues such as increased education, healthcare, and criminal-justice costs.
Justice Department attorneys raised a series of arguments in seeking dismissal of the case, including disputing a Florida contention that the Biden administration has a “non-detention” policy.
But Wetherell disagreed.
“Suffice it to say the court is wholly unpersuaded by defendants’ position that they have unfettered discretion to determine how (or if) to comply with the immigration statutes and that there is nothing that Florida or this court can do about their policies even if they contravene the immigration statutes,” Wetherell wrote in a 37-page decision.
“This position is as remarkable as it is wrong because it is well established that no one, not even the president, is above the law and the court unquestionably has the authority to say what the law is and to invalidate the action of the executive branch that contravenes the law and/or the Constitution. Thus, if Florida’s allegations that defendants are essentially flaunting the immigration laws are proven to be true, the court most certainly can (and will) do something about it,” he added.
The Justice Dept. also argued that Florida did not have “standing” to bring the lawsuit, but Wetherell dismissed that as well.
“Florida has plausibly alleged that the challenged policies already have and will continue to cost it millions of dollars, including the cost of incarcerating criminal aliens and the cost of providing a variety of public benefits, including unemployment benefits, free public education, and emergency services to aliens who settle in Florida after being ‘paroled’ into the country,” Wetherell wrote.
In his ruling, the judge acknowledged the federal government’s arguments that “Congress has authorized it to establish immigration enforcement policies and priorities, specifically those related to allocating its limited resources, thereby conveying discretion.”
“However,” he wrote, “Congress was presumably aware that defendants have limited resources when it enacted the detention requirement, yet it still chose to use language mandating detention,” he wrote. “Even if resource allocation and other policy priorities can be considered in defendants’ exercise of their limited parole authority … those considerations do not give defendants carte blanche to release arriving aliens without undertaking individualized case-by-case assessments as required by that statute, as they have allegedly done through the challenged policies — particularly if, as Florida alleges, defendants have essentially created the problem the challenged policies seek to alleviate.”
Last weekend, former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf expressed renewed concerns over the Biden administration’s border enforcement policies, which are far laxer than those of former President Donald Trump.
“I’m very concerned, not only for the American people, but also for Border Patrol, who continues to be in a crisis now for 15 months, and they have no end in sight…at the end of the day, this administration doesn’t appear to want to actually solve this problem of this illegal behavior. There’s no deterrent in any of the policies or processes that they are currently undertaking in responding to,” he told Fox News.
“Instead, they put out a six-point pillar plan to deal with Title 42 going away, and it’s simply processing more and more individuals into the country…until we get serious about making sure that we hold people accountable for breaking the law and removing individuals very quickly back to their home countries, that don’t have a legal right to be here…unfortunately, you’re going to continue to see historic numbers. We’re going to have historic numbers in April, and we certainly will have them in May as well,” he added.
Republican lawmakers are also sounding off on the Biden border policies, which have led to record-high encounters with illegal migrants and skyrocketing drug smuggling.
“The Chinese Communist Party is in business with the major cartels down in Mexico to flood our country with fentanyl, and they’re killing our kids. We cannot afford to lift Title 42,” Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) tweeted earlier this month.
The Chinese Communist Party is in business with the major cartels down in Mexico to flood our country with fentanyl, and they're killing our kids.
We cannot afford to lift Title 42.
— Senator Bill Hagerty (@SenatorHagerty) May 6, 2022