Florida governor Ron DeSantis filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Tuesday on behalf of the state of Florida, claiming that the “ideological” Biden White House is pursuing a “destructive and illegal” catch-and-release border policy that is leaving Florida’s citizens vulnerable.
Speaking alongside Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody Tuesday afternoon in Fort Meyers, DeSantis called the Biden administration policy, which has led to a record number of illegal alien encounters with United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in recent months — and more than 1 million encounters in 2021 — a “total disaster.”
He specifically targeted the Biden administration’s unofficial “catch-and-release” policy, which allows captured illegal immigrants who claim asylum to remain in the United States until their claims can be heard in an immigration court — sometimes a matter of months. The policy runs counter to the Trump administration’s solution, which had prospective asylum seekers remaining in Mexico until their claims could be assessed.
Biden’s policy, DeSantis claims, has sent unscreened illegal immigrants into Florida — on purpose.
“I think this is intentional, I think this is ideological,” DeSantis said at the conference Tuesday. “They want a massive illegal migration into this country.”
“It’s very clear the open borders is the Biden Administration policy. They want a massive, illegal migration into this country,” DeSantis added. “They are farming out people all across communities across the United States, including here in Florida.”
“This is absolutely a crisis. It’s a crisis of the administration’s own making,” he said. “This continued release of folks on a very mass scale and unprecedented scale will saddle states and local governments with health, financial, economic, and public safety costs.”
He then referenced the border numbers, suggesting that thousands upon thousands of illegal immigrants are now inside the United States.
DeSantis is also taking local action.
On Tuesday, in addition to filing suit against the Biden administration, the Florida governor “also issued an executive order that prohibits all Florida agencies under his purview from facilitating illegal immigration into Florida, unless otherwise required by federal or state law, and requires the collection of information from state officials on the scope and costs of illegal immigration in Florida,” according to a local Miami NBC affiliate.
DeSantis’ actions closely follow a Haitian migrant crisis at the border, which saw more than 10,000 asylum seekers take refuge under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, waiting to encounter border patrol and be allowed into the United States. The Biden administration expelled some of the Haitian migrants through Title 42, which allows the U.S. government to immediately deport any migrant over COVID-19 concerns, but thousands more have reportedly been allowed to enter the country to await an immigration hearing.
The Florida governor has tangled with the Biden administration repeatedly over the past several months, largely over COVID-19 restrictions suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but he’s also opposed the Biden administration on border policy, sending around 250 Florida National Guard troops to the U.S. border earlier this summer to assist in controlling the border crisis.