Biden’s Migrant Catch-and-Release Policy Unlawful, Trump-Appointed Judge Rules
The Biden administration has turned the southwest border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country, according to a scathing federal court order blasting the president’s controversial catch-and-release policy. Known as Parole Plus Alternative to Detention (Parole+ATD) the program released over a million illegal immigrants in the U.S. in a year, supposedly tracking them with technology and other tools. Florida officials filed a lawsuit in 2021, accusing the Biden administration of violating immigration laws with policies that freed illegal aliens from detention after entering the country via the Mexican border. The state alleged that releasing illegal immigrants impacts it because about 100,000 ended up in Florida, increasing healthcare, education, and criminal justice costs.
A federal judge agreed with officials in the Sunshine State, ruling this month that the Biden administration is responsible for the southwest border crisis and that it is to blame for the influx of migrants. In his 109-page order the judge, T. Kent Wetherell of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, writes this: “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.” Rejecting the government’s rationale for the outrageous policy, the Trump-appointed jurist likens it to “a child who kills his parents and then seeks pity for being an orphan.”
The lashing continues in the lengthy decision, which was delivered after a weeklong trial in January. Biden’s open border policies are akin to posting a flashing “come in, we’re open sign on the Southern border,” Judge Wetherell writes. “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.” The judge cites Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz’s testimony revealing that the current surge in migrants differs from prior surges he has seen over his lengthy career in that most of the border crossers are turning themselves in to federal agents rather than trying to escape. “It is reasonable to infer (and just plain common sense) that aliens are doing this because they are aware that they will be expeditiously processed and released into the country,” the order states, adding that “indeed, on this point, Chief Ortiz credibly opined based on his experience that the aliens are likely turning themselves in because they think they’re going to be released.”
Ruling that Biden’s catch-and-release policy is unlawful, Judge Wetherell gives the administration seven days to comply with federal immigration law. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who filed the lawsuit, said the ruling affirms what we have known all along, that Biden is responsible for the border crisis and his unlawful immigration policies make the U.S. less safe. “A federal judge is now ordering Biden to follow the law,” Moody said in a statement, adding that “his administration should immediately begin securing the border to protect the American people.” A former state judge and federal prosecutor who tried drug, firearm, and fraud crimes, Moody and her legal team presented the court with evidence that the Biden administration purposely reduced Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) holding capacity and narrowed removal pathways to force the release of hundreds of thousands of migrants into the U.S.
Besides recently being ruled illegal by a federal court, a former senior advisor at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says the ATD program has proven to be a “costly failure” and thousands of illegal aliens disappear from monitoring every year. “The goal should be to quickly determine whether these individuals have a valid case, and if not, to quickly deport them,” the former DHS advisor, Jon Feere, says in a news article. In the same story former acting ICE director Ron Vitiello says that ATD is popular among the left and sounds great, but the reality is illegal immigrants in the program will likely never be deported.