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A federal judge in Florida has issued a two-week restraining order on the Biden administration’s policy of releasing illegal immigrants into the United States without court dates, just hours before Title 42 was due to expire.
Judge T. Kent Wetherell II, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, issued a temporary restraining order on Thursday night against the Biden administration’s new parole policy that would have replaced Title 42, the measure that allowed for the immediate expulsion of illegal border crossers to Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The temporary restraining order comes into place from 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, according to court filings (pdf).
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who sued the Biden administration over the policy, announced the ruling on Twitter late Thursday.
“We took swift action to protect the American people from [President Joe Biden’s] unlawful plan to release thousands of illegal immigrants when Title 42 lifts in an hour. I am grateful for the quick decision by the federal judge,” Moody wrote.
Federal judge grants Attorney General Moody’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining @JoeBiden’s unlawful “Parole with Conditions” mass release policy ahead of Title 42 expiration.https://t.co/lP4htLKdRk
— AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) May 12, 2023
Moody argued the new policy is “materially identical” to a similar program, known as Parole plus Alternative to Detention (Parole + ATD), which was deemed unlawful by a Florida court in March.
The judge agreed, writing in his ruling the policy was “materially indistinguishable” from Parole + ATD, “both in its purpose” to reduce overcrowding at detention facilities and “manner of operation.”
Biden Admin Policy
Under the new policy outlined in a Department of Homeland Security memo (pdf), apprehended illegal immigrants could be released into the United States after processing without receiving an alien registration number or a court date.
The memo outlining the policy states that Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has the authority to “parole certain noncitizens into the United States” temporarily “on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”
The new policy was set to replace the Title 42 public health order as it expires at midnight, to allow for the release of illegal border crossers under “parole with conditions.”
“The policy does not contemplate that the alien would be taken into custody at the [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] facility and, as was the case with the Parole+ATD policy, aliens released under the challenged policy would not have an immigration ‘case’ that can ‘continue to be dealt with’ after the purposes of the parole have been served,” Wetherell wrote in his ruling that was issued just hours before Title 42 was set to expire, and as thousands of migrants wait on the Mexico side of the border.
The Biden administration argued that the new policy is a response to “a moment of crisis at the border,” and that blocking the DHS’s parole authority “on the eve of the crisis” could “cause chaos and undermine the security of the border and the safety of border officials.”
However, Wetherall said this “rhetoric rings hollow” because “this problem is largely one of [the Biden administration’s] own making through the adoption and implementation of policies that have encouraged the so-called ‘irregular migration’ that has become fairly regular over the past 2 years.”
This is a developing story.
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