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Florida sues Biden over plan to release foreign nationals en masse into U.S.

State asks court to issue a restraining order to prevent Homeland Security from implementing the new parole policy.

Published: May 11, 2023 11:09pm

(The Center Square) -

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody sued the Biden administration Thursday over its plan to release foreign nationals en masse into U.S. border communities.

“Before Title 42 expires at midnight, the Biden administration must explain to a federal judge why a new immigration policy does not violate a court order,” Moody said after the lawsuit was filed.

The plan, she argues, violates a federal court order she won in a previous lawsuit she filed over the administration’s catch-and-release program.

Hours before Title 42 enforcement was set to expire just before midnight Thursday, Florida filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the plan to release foreign nationals en masse and requested a ruling before it went into effect.

The federal judge who ruled on her previous lawsuit is also presiding over this lawsuit. In March, 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.”

Wetherell on Thursday ordered DHS to respond to the restraining order motion almost immediately.

Wetherell’s order requiring an expedited response states: “If the allegations in the complaint and motion are true, then it appears that DHS is preparing to flout the Court’s order in Florida v. United States by implementing a new ‘parole’ policy that, based on the DHS spokesperson’s description of the policy, sounds virtually identical to the Parole+ATD policy the Court vacated in Florida."

Moody said Biden's latest plan is dangerous.

“The gall of Biden to thumb his nose at a federal court order and proceed with an unlawful plan to allow what amounts to an invasion at our Southwest Border is not only unprecedented, it is dangerous,” Moody said. “We have blown the whistle on Biden every step along his path to illegally dismantle our nation’s border security system – and even as the clock ticks down to the end of Title 42, we are taking action to force this administration to follow the law, secure the border and protect the American people.”

The DHS policy being implemented requires agents to release inadmissible foreign nationals into the U.S. without undergoing deportation proceedings, in violation of federal law.

“Hours before Title 42 ends, it is reported that DHS’s answer to the court order is to simply change the name of the policy, but not its practices,” Moody said.

In her lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, Moody argues DHS’s new policy isn’t in accordance with federal law established by Congress, exceeds the authority of DHS, is arbitrary and capricious, and fails to meet notice and comment requirements. The lawsuit seeks to preliminarily enjoin the policy and ultimately vacate any new parole policy.

“On May 9, 2023 – approximately two months after the Court vacated the March Parole + ATD Policy – the media began reporting that Border Patrol planned to restart the mass release of migrants at the Southwest Border upon the expiration of the Title 42 order on May 11, 2023,” the complaint states. “On May 10, a DHS spokesperson told the media that DHS plans to employ the ‘targeted use of parole [to] allow Border Patrol to focus its resources most effectively [on] quickly processing and removing individuals who do not have a legal basis to remain in the country.’

“In short, rather than seek a stay of the Court’s judgment in good faith, DHS plans to continue its game of whack-a-mole with Florida and with this Court by promulgating yet another unlawful policy.”

Moody also filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order with the same court. Florida is asking the court to issue a restraining order to prevent DHS from implementing the new parole policy or otherwise using parole as a tool of operational convenience.

“Florida seeks a temporary restraining order to preserve the status quo until the parties can brief motions for a preliminary injunction or to postpone the effective date of the new policy,” the motion states. “The Biden Administration’s behavior, if left unchecked, makes a mockery of our system of justice and our Constitution.”

On March 8, after a year and a half of litigation, Judge Wetherell ruled the Biden administration “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.”

It remains unclear if DHS has complied with the order.

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