HomeFlorida NewsFormer president Trump’s appointee upholds Florida’s right to challenge Biden’s immigration policies

Former president Trump’s appointee upholds Florida’s right to challenge Biden’s immigration policies


Florida – Earlier this week, a federal judge reaffirmed his decision that allows Florida to contest the immigration policies of the Biden administration, despite an appellate court’s directive to reevaluate his stance.

Judge T. Kent Wetherell of Pensacola, in a recent 10-page document, confirmed Florida’s right to question federal practices concerning the release of undocumented immigrants from custody after they enter through the nation’s southwestern border.

Last year, Wetherell ruled in favor of Florida in two instances, finding that the “Parole Plus Alternatives to Detention” and “Parole with Conditions” policies breached federal legislation. This prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Following a Supreme Court verdict unfavorable to Texas and Louisiana in a similar immigration case, the appellate court in Atlanta on February 13 tasked Wetherell with reassessing Florida’s legal standing to bring the case, in light of the higher court’s decision.

The requirement for plaintiffs to demonstrate standing is a prerequisite for a court’s authority to render a verdict. Hence, without standing, Wetherell wouldn’t have been able to decide in Florida’s favor.

The Supreme Court had previously concluded that Texas and Louisiana lacked the standing to dispute the immigration enforcement policies of the Biden administration. Nonetheless, Wetherell differentiated Florida’s situation from that of Texas, indicating that the policies Florida is challenging do not pertain to arrest or prosecution but rather detail the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) discretionary use of its parole power for individuals in DHS custody upon reaching the southwestern border. Wetherell argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling did not preclude federal courts from reviewing DHS’s parole policies.

Appointed by former President Donald Trump, Wetherell, who had served on a state appellate court, emphasized the regularity of Florida’s lawsuits against DHS’s parole practices. He stated the court was merely requested to assess if the policies in question adhered to the statutory limitations on DHS’s ability to parole immigrants into the U.S. who would otherwise be detained during their immigration proceedings.

Wetherell’s judgment concerning the standing issue has been returned to the appellate court.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in the case involving Texas and Louisiana, the Justice Department contended that Florida also lacks the standing to sue, drawing parallels to the Supreme Court’s reasoning.

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody have prominently opposed federal immigration policies amidst an influx of migrants at the southwestern border. In September 2021, the state sued the Biden administration, accusing it of contravening laws through its “catch-and-release” practices and arguing that undocumented immigrants burden Florida’s educational, healthcare, and prison systems.

The lawsuit led to Wetherell’s verdicts against the federal government in March and May 2023, prior to the Supreme Court ruling on the Texas and Louisiana cases.

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