The Biden administration is appealing a federal judge’s order blocking immigration officials from releasing migrants yet to secure notices to appear in court — a policy it claims is needed as border patrol sites are swamped by surges of asylum seekers in light of pandemic-era Title 42 expiring.
Justice Department filed legal papers Saturday asking the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Florida for an emergency stay on Judge T. Kent Wetherell II’s two-week restraining order on the president’s “parole with conditions” policy.
Wetherell on Thursday blocked the policy – which leaves it up to migrants to arrange an appointment with Immigration and Customs Enforcement within 60 days, or apply for an asylum court date to be sent to them by mail – in response to a lawsuit from the state of Florida.
The Biden administration notified the court it intends to appeal to decision to the 11th Circuit.
The release policy was outlined in a US Customs and Border Protection memo earlier this month, saying migrants can enter the United States on parole if CBP faces overcrowding, according to Fox News.
Justice Department lawyers said maintaining a restraining order on the policy will “irreparably harm the United States and the public by frustrating measures that are necessary to secure the border and protect the health and welfare of both migrants and Border Patrol Agents,” the filing states.
Without Title 42 expiring Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security can no longer expel migrants at the border and “lacks the resources to detain this record number of arrivals, or the staffing and facilities to safely process and issue charging documents to all these new arrivals in the normal course,” the filing added.
DHS has estimated that without the ability to release migrants an overwhelming 45,000 migrants will be in custody by the end of May, Fox News reported.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody argued in the state’s lawsuit that the “parole with conditions” policy was materially identical” to a “Parole + ATD” policy blocked by the same judge in March.
Wetherell agreed with that assessment in his decision.
“Putting aside the fact that even President Biden recently acknowledged that the border has been in chaos for ‘a number of years,’ defendants’ doomsday rhetoric rings hollow because, as explained in detail in Florida, this problem is largely one of defendants’ own making through the adoption an implementation of policies that have encouraged the so-called ‘irregular migration’ that has become fairly regular over the past 2 years,” he said.
The White House has called Wetherell’s ruling “sabotage.”