On Friday, the Biden administration sought permission from a federal judge to expedite the process of releasing undocumented immigrants, as stated in a court document.
U.S. Judge T. Kent Wetherell II, appointed by former President Donald Trump, had previously issued a temporary hold on a new parole policy proposed by the Biden administration. This policy was set to replace Title 42, an act that authorized the immediate expulsion of illegal border crossers to Mexico during the pandemic. The case in question is Florida v. United States (Case number: 23-cv-9962).
The proposed policy, ‘Policy on Parole with Conditions in Limited Circumstances Before the Issuance of a Charging Document,’ allows for the release of undocumented immigrants without a court date. Instead, they would arrange a meeting at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility online within 60 days or receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) via mail after being released.
Another policy named ‘Parole + Alternatives to Detention (ATD)’ was also put on hold by Wetherell in the case Florida v. United States (Case number: 21-cv-01066) earlier this year. This policy enables U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to release undocumented immigrants into communities after assessing national security and public safety. According to the CBP policy memo, those enrolled in the ATD program are subject to supervision.
In the court document submitted to the Northern District of Florida Court, the Justice Department (DOJ) requested the judge to suspend both orders. It announced plans to challenge both U.S. 11th Circuit Court rulings by May 15. The DOJ plans to seek emergency relief from the Eleventh Circuit if the current court does not grant the requested stays.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody objected to this motion, accusing the Biden administration of attempting to perpetuate an unlawful policy.
According to Matthew J. Hudak, deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP), they have held over 27,000 noncitizens in custody as of May 9. The USBP has encountered about 1.33 million noncitizens in the fiscal year 2023. Hudak expects daily encounters to rise to 12,000–14,000 following the termination of Title 42.
In response to the anticipated influx of undocumented immigrants, the Biden administration plans to deploy 1,500 troops to the southern border.
Pentagon press secretary Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed this plan in early May, stating that the 1,500 troops would address crucial capability gaps for 90 days. The Pentagon is also considering other options, including potentially drawing from reserves.
Ryder explained that until the CBP can obtain these services through contractual assistance, the primary duties of these troops would be ground-based detection and tracking, data input, and warehouse support.
Ryder emphasized that these military personnel would not directly engage in law enforcement activities.
This deployment of military personnel comes in anticipation of a potential surge in illegal border crossings following the expiration of Title 42. In the days leading up, the USBP reported an average daily apprehension of over 23,000 undocumented immigrants between May 8 and 10.
“Over the last week, the ten-day average encounters was 9,087, with May 8, 9, 10 and all-surpassing 10,000 apprehensions with a daily custody average of 23,646,” Hudak stated.
The Biden Administration must strike a balance between its immigration policy and the need to guarantee public safety and national security as the crisis at the southern border develops. The contentious nature of the issue indicates that robust dialogue and thoughtful policy considerations will be essential in the months to come.
The decisions made by the Biden administration to manage the potential influx of undocumented immigrants at the southern border will remain a key topic of discussion in the country’s debate on immigration reform. The ultimate resolution of these policies and court cases will have far-reaching implications, shaping the future of U.S. immigration policy and the lives of those affected by it.