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Lawsuits & Litigation

Florida Attorney General Moody Sues Biden Administration Over Immigration Policy, Changes

— March 18, 2021

Moody says the new immigration policies will force local law enforcement to release undocumented immigrants back into Florida communities.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, claiming the president’s new immigration policy threatens public safety.

Filed Monday, the 28-page complaint suggests that a temporary freeze on deportations could place an undue burden upon Florida law enforcement.

“The Biden administration’s actions will allow criminal aliens to be released into and move freely in the state of Florida, and their resulting crime will cost the state millions of dollars on law enforcement, incarceration, and crime victim’s assistance,” Moody wrote in her lawsuit. “It will also cause unquantifiable harm to Florida’s citizenry and will force the state to expend its own law enforcement resources to pick up the slack.”

The lawsuit, notes The Miami-Herald, targets two memos filed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its subsidiary agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While one memo was issued January 20th, and the other February 18th, both seek to protect undocumented immigrants who are currently in the United States and awaiting deportation.

Border Patrol agents. Image via Pixabay/user:mademoddymad. (CCA-BY-0.0)

The January 20th memo, says the Herald, ordered a 100-day “pause on certain removals to enable focusing the department’s resources where they are most needed.”

However, a Texas judge quickly moved to block the deportation freeze, prompting the Department of Homeland Security to issued revised guidance setting “interim priorities” for the agency.

The revised memo instructs the Homeland Security and ICE officers to focus their energies upon apprehending, arresting, and deporting undocumented immigrants who pose a grave threat to national security, have been convicted of violent crimes, or are known gang affiliates.

Alongside such specified categories, the memo also permits the deportation of migrants who were caught crossing the U.S. border on or after November 1st.

Moody contends that the administration’s policy violates federal law.

“Within hours of being sworn in, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and members of his administration violated their oaths of office, flouted congressional statutes, failed to protect U.S. citizens and immigrants alike, and created what will quickly become a public-safety nightmare,” the lawsuit states.

Moody further suggested that the directives have led to undocumented immigrants being “released” into floor, and may result in ICE detainers being canceled by the federal government.

The Tampa Bay Times observes that, although ICE has canceled “some detainers,” a cancellation does not automatically result in a migrant’s release—they can still be held in county jails for other reasons, such as suspected commission of a crime.

One of the Department of Homeland Security’s two memos explains that the agency lacks the resources to pursue low-risk migrants, especially as U.S. law enforcement struggles to keep the border shut amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to limited resources, DHS cannot respond to all immigration violations or remove all persons unlawfully in the United States. Rather, DHS must implement civil immigration enforcement based on sensible priorities and changing circumstances,” the agency wrote in its memo. “DHS’s civil immigration enforcement priorities are protecting national security, border security, and public safety.”


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