PUNTA GORDA, Fla.—A federal judge ruled on May 4 that a lawsuit filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody over “catch and release” of undocumented immigrants can move forward, rejecting the Biden administration’s motion to dismiss it.
U.S. District Judge Ken Wetherell denied the motion filed by the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss Moody’s case that was filed last year.
The lawsuit alleged that the Biden administration had violated immigration laws through policies that have led to people being released from detention after crossing the U.S. border with Mexico. Also, it alleged that the releases affect Florida because of the negative impacts on education, health care and criminal justice services.
The Justice Department attorneys contended that the Biden administration has a “non-detention” policy.
However, Wetherell, formerly a state appeals court judge, ruled that the lawsuit should continue to move forward.
In the 37-page decision, the judge made blistering remarks about the Biden administration’s policies.
“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. “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 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.”
Moody has joined other states’ lawsuits as well as filed her own, challenging the policies of the Biden administration and publicly criticizing the policies that are allowing mass migration on the southern border.