Florida Takes on Catch and Release

Press Releases

April 5, 2022

IRLI shows Biden’s policies violate law

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case taking aim at the Biden administration’s policy of releasing illegal aliens into the United States rather than detaining or removing them. The State of Florida, in which the administration has settled many of these illegal aliens, has sued in federal district court to end this latest—and massive—version of catch and release.

As IRLI explains in its brief, the law requires the administration to detain illegal aliens it has caught entering the country illegally. The administration claims it is releasing illegal aliens on parole, but, as IRLI shows, the statute authorizing parole makes it available only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or public benefit. This statute in no way authorizes the administration to release massive groups of illegal aliens without any individualized consideration at all.

IRLI also shows that Biden’s policy of catch and release is such an extreme failure of enforcement that it violates the executive’s constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” and that the court has full power, under the Constitution, to order the administration to fulfill this duty.

In an unusual move, the court, in granting IRLI leave to file its brief, also ordered the administration to respond to IRLI’s arguments, giving it extra time to do so.

“It is becoming obvious to everyone that the Biden administration has deliberately caused, and is intensifying, the mass resettlement of illegal aliens in the United States,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “That is the opposite of the result Congress intended when it passed the laws Biden is refusing to enforce. The Constitution is clear: administrations have to follow the law, not suspend or disregard it, or work at cross-purposes to it. It is well past time for the courts to uphold that bedrock principle, and enforce the Constitution on this lawless administration.”

The case is Florida v. United States, No. 3:21-cv-1066 (N.D. Fla.).

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