Florida sues Biden administration over ‘catch-and-release’ immigration policies

Florida on Tuesday sued the Biden administration for its alleged “catch-and-release” immigration policy and Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a directive asking state agencies to quantify the costs of illegal immigration on state taxpayers.

In a 12-page executive order, DeSantis prohibited all state agencies “from facilitating illegal immigration into Florida” and tasked them with collecting information “on the scope and costs of illegal immigration in Florida.”

The governor said in a statement that since Biden took office in January, “which has been less than one year,” the U.S. Border Patrol “has released nearly a quarter million illegal aliens” from custody into the United States.

“This executive order makes it clear that Florida resources will not be used to prop up the failed open border agenda enacted by this administration,” DeSantis said.

There were 78,000 “encounters” with illegal migrants at the Southwest border in January 2021 before President Donald Trump left office, according to the Governor’s Office. By July, more than 212,000 a month had been logged, a 171% increase and the highest monthly rate of border “encounters” in two decades, it maintains.

“Additionally, the number of illegal aliens who were apprehended and subsequently released by the Border Patrol in July alone was a staggering 60,607, a massive increase from the 1,324 in this category who were released in January,” the Governor’s Office states. “By contrast, in the last full month of the Trump Administration, only 17 aliens in this category were released.”

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Aug. 19 ruled against Biden’s immigration policies and ordered the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deport criminals in the country illegally upon release from jails and prisons.

DeSantis’ directive ordering state agencies to assess costs of illegal immigration on taxpayers follows his Aug. 26 letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding more transparency concerning resettlement of illegal aliens in Florida and called the Biden administration to consult with state leadership before illegal aliens are resettled.

DeSantis said the state’s 23-page lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. Northern District of Florida in Pensacola is “challenging (Biden’s) policy of catching and releasing the staggering number of illegal aliens apprehended at the border into the United States.”

“The Biden administration’s brazen disregard for federal immigration law is jeopardizing the safety and security of our state and nation, all while costing Florida taxpayers,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said. “Biden’s lax border policy is an open invitation to dangerous criminals, human traffickers and drugs traffickers to enter the United States — creating a crisis at the Southern Border like we have never seen,”

Moody said the Biden administration must restore Trump-era immigration policies like the federal court in Texas ordered it to do rather than appealing the ruling without addressing the “border crisis.”

“The federal government cannot simply ignore federal laws because it does not agree with them politically,” she said. “The Biden administration must implement the immigration policy required under federal law and we are asking the court to take swift action to reduce the harm caused by Biden’s inaction.”

DeSantis Tuesday also appointed former Northern District of Florida U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe as “Public Safety Czar” to “ensure actions directed by the executive order are carried out.”

“As a former U.S. Attorney, I saw illegal aliens that would get deported and come back, and then get deported and come back in an endless cycle,” Keefe said. “The states, including Florida, bear the brunt of this cycle. Over the coming weeks and months, our state agencies will be addressing the impacts illegal immigration has had on our state.”

This article was originally posted on Florida sues Biden administration over ‘catch-and-release’ immigration policies

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