A federal judge in Florida ruled Wednesday that the Biden administration’s “catch-and-release” border policy, in which foreign nationals in the country are released into the U.S. instead of being deported, is unlawful.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has argued since she filed a lawsuit challenging the policy in March 2021 that the program is illegal. On Wednesday, a federal judge agreed.
In a scathing 109-page opinion, U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell for the Northern District of Florida Pensacola Division ruled the Biden administration’s “catch-and-release” policy is unlawful and “due to be vacated.” He also denied the administration’s motion for summary judgement, vacated the administration’s “Parole+ATD” Policy under the Administrative Procedures Act, and gave the administration seven days to seek appellate review and comply with federal law and his ruling.
Wetherell, of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Florida, ruled, “The Court finds in favor of Florida because, as detailed below, the evidence establishes that Defendants have effectively turned the Southwest Border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country by prioritizing ‘alternatives to detention’ over actual detention and by releasing more than a million aliens into the country – on ‘parole’ or pursuant to the exercise of ‘prosecutorial discretion’ under a wholly inapplicable statute – without even initiating removal proceedings.”
The judge also said of the administration’s policies: “Collectively, these actions 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. …
“Thus, like a child who kills his parents and then seeks pity for being an orphan, it is hard to take Defendants’ claim that they had to release more aliens into the country because of limited detention capacity seriously when they have elected not to use one of the tools provided by Congress in §1225(b)(2)(C) and they have continued to ask for less detention capacity in furtherance of their prioritization of ‘alternatives to detention’ over actual detention.”
By Bethany Blankley