Federal Judge Halts Biden Illegal Mis-use of "Catch & Release"

The federal government’s program of releasing many illegal immigrants rather than holding them until their cases are resolved violates federal law

by Zachary Stieber, The Epoch Times, March 8, 2023

“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,” U.S. District Judge Judge T. Kent Wetherell, a Trump appointee, said in the ruling.

Wetherell struck down Alternatives to Detention, a program through which President Joe Biden’s administration has released more than one million aliens into the U.S. interior.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, sued the government in 2021 over the policy, arguing the catch-and-release policy violated federal law.

Biden administration officials have claimed they had the discretion not to hold immigrants and that Florida lacked standing.

Under Supreme Court precedent, immigration officials have “broad discretion” in carrying out immigration laws, but must adhere to laws established by Congress. The Immigration and Nationality Act, one such law, states that immigrants who arrive at the border without proper documents are subject to quick removal without a hearing or review. Immigrants who claim asylum can have their claims heard but “shall be detained” until the claims are resolved.

The “shall be detained” wording “means what it says and that is a mandatory requirement,” Wetherell said in the new ruling.

The government’s position “would render mandatory detention under” the law “meaningless,” he added later.

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The judge also said Florida has standing because it has a procedural right under Administrative Procedure Act and a quasi-sovereign interest in its territory and on illegal aliens being within that territory. The government’s failure to hold immigrants as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act, according to the judge, harms states because “they cannot do anything to keep those aliens out of the state.” States are also harmed because they have to spend money to deal with the aliens, the ruling said.

Wetherell vacated the policy under the procedure act, remanding it back to the government for further work consistent with his order.

Moody said in a statement: “Today’s ruling affirms what we have known all along, President Biden is responsible for the border crisis and his unlawful immigration policies make this country less safe. A federal judge is now ordering Biden to follow the law, and his administration should immediately begin securing the border to protect the American people.”

Federal officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The ruling was stayed for seven days to allow the government time to appeal.

Story continues . . . 


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