As another sign of the importance of the issues, the Biden administration on Thursday announced new measures that it said are aimed at increasing border security and reducing the number of people coming into the country. The White House also announced that Biden will travel Sunday to the border city of El Paso, Texas.
“The president will assess border enforcement operations and meet with local elected officials and community leaders who have been important partners in managing the historic number of migrants fleeing political oppression and gang violence in Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba,” a White House press advisory said.
In the lawsuit, Florida has alleged that the Biden administration is “systematically violating” federal laws by releasing migrants who are required to be detained. In part, it has alleged the federal government has enacted a “non-detention” policy and violated a law known as the Administrative Procedure Act.
The state also has challenged the use of what is dubbed the Parole Plus Alternatives to Detention, or Parole+ATD, policy, which Justice Department attorneys described in the October court document as providing guidance on how immigration officers can use “discretionary parole authority” in certain circumstances to release undocumented immigrants.
“The Biden Administration is … promoting its open borders agenda with two steps. One, eliminate effective immigration enforcement measures, and two, use the resulting crisis as a basis to violate congressionally mandated requirements in the immigration laws,” the lawsuit said.
But in the October document, Justice Department attorneys said a “non-detention policy does not exist” and that the Parole+ATD policy is consistent with a federal law known as the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The document said, for example, that the Parole+ATD policy helps avoid serious overcrowding at detention facilities that can pose health and safety risks and that detention and release decisions are made on a “case-by-case basis.”
Also, the Justice Department has argued that Florida does not have legal standing to pursue the lawsuit and has not proven that it has been injured by the federal government’s actions.
“Florida’s challenges to the alleged ‘non-detention’ policy are not redressable for the additional reason that they are nonjusticiable political questions,” the October document said. “Florida’s claims boil down to its disagreement with how defendants utilize various INA (Immigration and Naturalization Act) release mechanisms, and space and funding for prioritizing detention space.”
Wetherell, a former state appellate judge, was appointed to the federal bench by former President Donald Trump.