In a recent legal battle, the administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis successfully obtained a temporary restraining order against the Biden administration’s policy on parole for illegal immigrants. The lawsuit aimed to prevent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from releasing illegal aliens into the United States when border officials are overwhelmed and unable to handle the large influx of individuals due to capacity constraints.
The ruling was issued by Judge Thomas Kent Wetherell II of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida just hours before the expiration of Title 42. This section of the U.S. Code addresses public health emergencies and had been utilized during the pandemic to help maintain operational control of the border. The court’s decision effectively halted the implementation and enforcement of the parole policy outlined in a memorandum issued by U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz on May 10, 2023.
Judge Wetherell’s ruling stated, “DHS is enjoined from implementing or enforcing the parole policy contained in the May 10, 2023, Memorandum from U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz.” He further clarified that the temporary restraining order (TRO) would take effect at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, aligning with the expiration of the Title 42 Order, and giving the defendants an opportunity to seek an emergency stay from a higher court.
Chief Ortiz’s memo emphasized the need for the U.S. Border Patrol to consider the capacity of processing personnel and resources in dealing with noncitizens in their custody and prioritizing critical border security and public benefit enforcement actions. The memo recognized the challenges faced by the Border Patrol in maintaining sanitation, addressing medical needs, and addressing mental health concerns for noncitizens in short-term holding conditions.
Following the court’s decision, Taryn Fenske, the communications director for Governor DeSantis, took to Twitter, stating, “@govrondesantis & @ashleymoody beat Biden, again! SUES Feds and is GRANTED a temporary restraining order on illegal immigrant parole release policy.” The victory for Florida further underscores the ongoing battles between the state and the Biden administration on immigration-related issues.
Earlier in the day, Judge Wetherell had written to the Biden administration, ordering them to respond to the lawsuit filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. Wetherell expressed his disbelief at the administration’s last-minute formulation of the parole policy, noting their awareness of the impending expiration of the Title 42 Order.
As the legal proceedings unfold, this decision serves as a significant development in the ongoing debate surrounding immigration policies. The outcome will have implications for border security, public health considerations, and the overall management of illegal immigration into the United States.