·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Political Litigation

Florida Gov. DeSantis Sues Biden Administration on “Catch and Release”

— September 29, 2021

The lawsuit claims that the Biden administration’s so-called “catch and release” policy costs or will cost Florida millions of dollars per year.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced a lawsuit against the Biden administration and its so-called catch-and-release immigration policy.

According to CNN, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are all named as defendants.

Gov. DeSantis, a Republican, has posited the Biden administration’s policies as disastrous—despite the White House continuing many of the same programs and procedures laid down by Donald Trump.

“We are in a situation where we have a disaster on the southern border,” DeSantis said in a Tuesday press conference. “That’s been apparent for many, many months.”

While Gov. DeSantis announced the lawsuit, it was filed by state Attorney General Ashley Moody in a Pensacola federal court.

In her complaint, Moody claims that migrants who are “released” by the Biden administration are “arriving or will arrive in Florida, harming the State’s quasi-sovereign interests and forcing it to incur millions of dollars in expenses.”

Former Vice President and current President Joe Biden on the campaign trail in 2019. Image via Flickr/user:Gage Skidmore. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Moody has asked a federal judge to prevent the release of undocumented immigrants subject to mandatory detention, and to prevent government agencies from paroling migrants “without engaging in case-by-case adjudication or abiding by the limits on that authority.”

The White House, adds The Orlando Weekly, has yet to issue any formal response to the complaint. However, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that, while she had not seen the lawsuit, the administration is open to “a constructive conversation” with DeSantis and other Republicans.

Psaki further said that many deterrents to illegal immigration remain in place; and that, furthermore, the United States has continued to follow Trump-era processes blocking many asylum-seekers from entering the country amidst the ongoing public health crisis.

People who do arrive at the border requesting asylum must still remain in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities, are secured with ankle bracelets, and required to supply biometric data.

“It’s not an easy process or an easy system. And absolutely nothing is guaranteed,” Psaki said. “But, again, our system is broken. It needs to be fixed. That’s what we’d love to work with Republicans on.”

Nevertheless, DeSantis and his Republican allies have continued their anti-immigration crusade against the Biden administration.

DeSantis, notes the Orlando Weekly, recently appointed former U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe as one of the state’s “public safety czar[s}.” Keefe has been tasked with enforcing DeSantis’s executive orders on immigration.

“I promise you, if there are people illegally in our state, and if they’re in violation of our law, we are going to enforce the law,” Keefe said.

And, on Tuesday, DeSantis piled on the blame, accusing the Biden administration of facilitating the entry of undocumented migrants to Florida.

“This is absolutely a crisis,” Gov. DeSantis said. “It’s a crisis of the administration’s own making. And yes, this is their primary responsibility, the federal government, but the states, we’re the ones that are affected by this. And we have to be able to fight back.”


DeSantis announces lawsuit against Biden administration over immigration policy

Florida files lawsuit against Biden administration over immigration policies

Join the conversation!