White House Press Secretary Calls Florida Judge’s Decision “Sabotage”
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a legal challenge against Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz’s authorization of an emergency mass parole program for migrants to ease overcrowding at the U.S. southern border. The Department of Homeland Security argued that the program was necessary to prevent “catastrophic” overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities. However, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Wetherell ruled that the Border Patrol does not have the authority to release illegal immigrants from custody without giving them a date with an immigration court and setting up a means of tracking them.
During a press conference, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the judge’s decision “sabotage.” She stated that the claims that CBP is allowing or encouraging mass release of migrants is categorically false.
“Look, the way we see that, it’s sabotage, pure and simple. That’s how that reads to us,” Jean-Pierre said.
Without the parole policy, migrants entering the country illegally will be processed under traditional Title 8 immigration and asylum rules. They will be assigned a date in an immigration court, which, because of a severe backlog in immigration cases, can be several years out, to process their asylum claims. Wetherell’s court order has frozen Ortiz’s memo until at least an injunction hearing scheduled for May 19.
Many have criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott condemning the emergency mass parole program as “mass catch and release.” Judge Wetherell’s ruling builds on a prior legal challenge Moody filed against a similar immigration policy enacted by the Biden administration in 2021 that set up parole and “alternatives to detention” routes for processing illegal migrants. The judge ruled that policy unconstitutional in March.
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