Federal judge blocks Biden's catch and release policy

The Biden administration has a new policy on catch and release for illegal aliens due to the expiration of Title 42. In a memo released on Wednesday, just hours before Title 42 expired, Border Patrol agents were authorized to use Biden’s parole policy to catch and release illegal aliens caught up in the border surge that Title 42 is expected to produce. The chief of the Border Patrol said that the numbers are so high that the agency cannot be expected to process them correctly.

Chief Raul Ortiz, in a memo Wednesday, said parole will be allowed if the Border Patrol is averaging more than 7,000 arrests a day. The agency is well above that level already, and the numbers will probably go even higher by Friday, when the government will lose its Title 42 power to expel some migrants.

“Because BP personnel and resources are finite, BP must consider whether processing personnel and resources are necessary to process other noncitizens in BP custody or accomplish enforcement actions that are immediately critical to border security for the greater public benefit,” Chief Ortiz wrote. “If so, the individual may be considered for Parole with Conditions.”

That is what Border Patrol looks like when it throws its hands up in the air and surrenders to the sheer number of migrants crossing the border illegally. To be clear, I am not blaming the Border Patrol officials who are taking this step. I’m putting the blame where it belongs – on Joe Biden and DHS Secretary Mayorkas. This is their mess. The Biden border crisis is intentional. There are so many illegal entries being made into our country that all the agents can do is apprehend them and release them to go on their merry way. They aren’t being processed.

In an effort to stop this travesty – as necessary as it may be, practically-speaking – Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody sought a temporary retraining order to stop the mass release of migrants into the United States. She argued that it is “materially identical” to a policy that was blocked by a federal earlier this year. She argued in a filing in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida that the plan by DHS to release the migrants onto the streets is CBP and NGOs are overcapacity is unlawful. It is too similar to “the Parole + ATD” policy enjoined by a federal judge in March.

That policy saw migrants paroled into the U.S. and enrolled into Alternatives to Detention. The federal judge accused the government of “effectively turned the Southwest Border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country.”

Unsurprisingly, DHS disagrees with this opinion. The agency says reports of CBP allowing or ecouraging mass releases of migrants are false.

“We are stepping up enforcement actions and have surged 24,000 Border Patrol agents and officers, thousands of troops and contractors, and over a thousand asylum officers and judges to the border. Just yesterday ICE announced that families who attempt to cross the border unlawfully will be placed in expedited removal proceedings, subject to GPS monitoring, and removed within 30 days if they don’t have a legal basis to remain,” the spokesperson said.

“As was the case under Republican and Democrat Administrations alike in the past, parole may be considered for certain migrants on a case-by-case basis if they have cleared security vetting, but migrants who do not have a lawful basis to remain will be expeditiously removed — just like the 1.4 million migrants who were expelled last year alone.”

U.S. District Judge Kent Wetherell ordered the Biden administration to halt the quick migrant release policy at the same it discontinued the Title 42. The ruling came just hours before Title 42 expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday. He is the same judge who blocked a similar Biden policy of migrant releases in a lawsuit brought by the Florida attorney general in March.

This order expires in 14 days. It gives the Biden administration time to seek an emergency stay on the ruling. Another hearing is scheduled for May 19.

CBP criticized the Thursday ruling but said it will comply with the judge’s order.

“This is a harmful ruling that will result in unsafe overcrowding at CBP facilities and undercut our ability to efficiently process and remove migrants, and risks creating dangerous conditions for border patrol agents and migrants,” CBP said in a statement.

In a filing opposing the request by Florida, the Biden administration said the number of migrants stuck in Border Patrol custody could soar to 45,000 by the end of the month if the expedited releases were blocked in court. On Thursday, Border Patrol had nearly 25,000 migrants in its custody, despite only having the capacity to hold several thousand individuals in stations, processing centers and tents.

The Biden administration had two year to prepare for Title 42’s expiration. They chose to do nothing until public pressure and pressure from Congress caused them to come up with a policy at the last minute. It’s unacceptable. Catch and release has been used all along by the Biden administration and that is part of the problem. Every state is a border state now as illegal aliens travel all across the country in search of a new life, at the expense of legal citizens and communities who are on the hook for services for them.

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