Biden's 'catch and release' border policy struck down by U.S. judge

A federal judge in Florida on Wednesday agreed with the state's Republican attorney general that the policy of President Joe Biden's administration to release many people who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexican border rather than detaining them violates U.S. immigration law.

U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell in Pensacola blocked the administration from continuing to implement a 2021 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo that had authorized "alternatives to detention" to ease overcrowding in detention facilities. These alternatives included ankle bracelets, phone monitoring or check-ins by immigration officers. Republican critics have called the policy "catch and release."

Wetherell, appointed by former Republican President Donald Trump, said federal immigration authorities lack the power to implement those alternatives on a widespread basis under existing law. The judge agreed with the argument made by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who challenged the policy.

"Defendants have effectively turned the southwest border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country," Wetherell wrote, referring to non-U.S. citizens who cross the border illegally.

Wetherell gave the administration seven days to file an appeal before his decision takes effect.

Moody said in a statement that the judge's decision "affirms what we have known all along, (that) President Biden is responsible for the border crisis and his unlawful immigration policies make this country less safe."

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The administration has said it lacks the resources and detention capacity to process a recent surge of migrants. Wednesday's ruling could lead to a significant increase in the number of people held in detention centers.

(Cover: Venezuelan migrants who had been bused to New York from the Texas border refuse to leave for a city run migrant shelter in Brooklyn after being kicked out of their rooms at the Watson Hotel, February 1, 2023 in midtown New York City, New York. /CFP)

Source(s): Reuters

Search Trends