The state of Florida is suing the Biden administration over its "illegal" catch-and-release policies at the U.S.-Mexico border, GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday.
The lawsuit says the administration's policies force Florida to "incur millions of dollars in expenses" as a result of migrants being relocated to the state.
"This is absolutely a crisis, it's a crisis of the administration’s own making," DeSantis said during a late-morning press conference. "Yes, this is their primary responsibility, the federal government, but the states, we are the ones that are affected by this. And we have to be able to fight back.
"It’s very clear that open borders is the Biden administration’s policy. They want a massive illegal migration into this country, and it’s obvious in the polices they’re choosing."
Border Patrol reported 213,354 migrant encounters in July and 208,887 in August. Experts warn the numbers could continue to climb under the Biden administration.
The governor said Florida takes issue with the Biden administration refusing to explain how many migrants have been relocated to Florida, and whether they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have criminal backgrounds.
"We are entitled to know what’s going on here," DeSantis said.
State Attorney General Ashley Moody accused the administration of aiding and abetting drug cartels who send people and drugs into the country.
"Criminal cartels are having a field day. I can assure you, their profits are skyrocketing," Moody said.
The suit was filed in the Pensacola Division of the Northern District of Florida. The defendants in the suit are the Department of Homeland Security, its component agencies, such as Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as well as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, top officials from ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Fox News reported.
"The Biden administration's illegal border policies cause Florida harm," the lawsuit states. "Many of the aliens illegally 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."
U.S. code 1225 stipulates that individuals caught crossing the border illegally are required to be detained until a decision is made as to whether they are to be admitted to the country. The rule even applies to people seeking asylum — an immigration judge would determine if they are entitled to asylum before release into the U.S.
The only exception to the rule is the federal government's "parole authority" to be used only for "urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit."
Florida’s lawsuit alleges the Biden administration's immigration policy is either in violation of these rules, or simply an abuse of their parole authority.
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