Judge Slaps DHS, Greenlights Challenge to Catch-and-Release
DHS’s attempt to dismiss.challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s catch-and-release program is moving forward after a federal judge threw out the
“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,” the court stated in its 37-page ruling.
The order was based in part on a brief filed by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), FAIR’s public interest law affiliate, which argued that federal law requires the administration to detain illegal aliens caught entering the country. IRLI asserted, and the court agreed, that parole (release) of migrants is permitted only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
Judge T. Kent Wetherell, in the Northern District of Florida, found it extremely unlikely that the mass releases now occurring resulted from any case-by-case process.
Wetherell also made short work of the administration’s claim that it has the discretion to release illegal aliens regardless of what the law says. Congress has given the executive branch no such authority, and the judge found the administration’s “position as remarkable as it is wrong because it is well established that no one, not even the President, is above the law.”
If the administration is proven to be flouting immigration laws, Wetherell wrote, “the Court most certainly can (and will) do something about it.”
Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel for IRLI, said, “It is becoming obvious to everyone that the Biden administration has deliberately caused, and is intensifying, the mass resettlement of illegal aliens in the United States. That is the opposite of the result Congress intended when it passed the laws Biden is refusing to enforce.”
Though Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody called the court’s order “a huge win,” the ruling came from a judge appointed by Donald Trump. Other jurists on the long legal road ahead may be less clear, or receptive.
But the court of public opinion indefinitely chafing at this administration’s devastating border policies that jeopardize national security, undermine sovereignty, and make a mockery of immigration law. The catch-and-release program – which has enabled more than 1.124 million migrants into the country since February 2021, and is spending hundreds of millions of dollars transporting them into the U.S. interior – must be stopped.