Department of Justice Says ‘No Mas’ to Court; What Will Biden Do Next at the Border?
In a surprising move, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will not appeal a court ruling that struck down the Biden administration’s catch-and-release program at the southern border.
U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell had given the administration seven days to contest his decision. But without explanation, the DOJ said it would not. What that means for immigration policy generally and border security in particular is anyone’s guess.
Since 2021, the administration’s Parole + Alternatives to Detention program has arbitrarily and capriciously admitted hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens into the country. Wetherell ruled that the policy had turned the southern border into a “meaningless line in the sand” and flashed a “Come In, We’re Open” sign to attract even more migrants.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who brought the lawsuit, argued that U.S. law restricts the use of parole. She cited federal law that provides for parole only on a case-by-case basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or “significant public benefit.”
The law requires that the Department of Homeland Security detain most asylum seekers who enter the country without authorization. “There is nothing inherently inhumane or cruel about detaining aliens pending completion of their immigration proceedings,” Judge Wetherell wrote in his 109-page ruling.
DOJ lawyers argued that Florida lacked the standing to challenge the parole policy. But Wetherell rejected that assertion, pointing to evidence showing that more than 100,000 migrants have wound up in the state as a result of Washington’s open-ended program, including the addition of more than 17,000 students to public schools.
With the legal deck stacked against it, Biden & Co. apparently did not want to risk a final rejection at the U.S. Supreme Court. So what does the White House do now?
Just a few weeks ago, the administration announced a proposed rule to double down on its parole policy, to allow migrants to apply for parole before entering the United States.
The White House also has discussed sending asylum adjudicators to the border to make asylum decisions on the spot rather than having immigration judges make the determination.
Instead of fighting it out in court, the administration could push for an amnesty program in the run-up to the 2024 election, blaming Republicans and conservative judges for forcing them to “scale back” on immigration, and rally the progressive base around the need to “protect immigrants’ rights.”
That would be a crass response, even from an administration that daily demonstrates its contempt for immigration law while doing next to nothing to control the border. As Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel for FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, stated last year:
“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.”
Now at least, thanks to Judge Wetherell’s decision, the benighted Parole+ATD program has been nullified. Good riddance.