A federal judge has handed the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security a huge defeat in a lawsuit involving the agency’s apparent lack of concern regarding migrants in the country illegally.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kent Wetherell of Florida’s northern federal court ordered the DHS to release periodic updates regarding some 2,500 migrants “unlawfully in the country” after finding the agency does not have any plan to track them.
“Wetherell of Florida’s northern federal court placed a temporary restraining order on the Biden administration on May 11 that blocked DHS from releasing noncitizens into the United States through Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s ‘parole with conditions’ policy,” the Washington Examiner reported.
After Wetherell’s Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) disclosed that a group of 2,572 illegal immigrants were released into the country at the U.S.-Mexico border, but approximately 41.4 percent of them failed to report within 60 days to receive their court summons and initiate their removal proceedings.
“The Court is skeptical that DHS is serious about tracking down the aliens who did not check in as directed or that it will take any action against them if it ever finds them,” Wetherell wrote in a two-page filing.
The PWC program lacks a tracking measure for monitoring its participants. In the past, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit against another immigration parole program called Parole Plus Alternatives to Detention, which incorporated the use of body-worn GPS monitors to track parolees, the outlet reported.
In March, Wetherell annulled the Parole + ATD program, stating that the policy clashed with a requirement outlined in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act. According to the mandate, illegal immigrants must be detained from the moment they are apprehended until their removal proceedings are concluded.
In addition, the judge mentioned in his Tuesday statement that approximately 2,108 (82 percent) of the immigrants who were released following his TRO are either waiting for the issuance of a notice to appear in court or “their whereabouts are unknown.”
“These statistics are troubling to say the least. But even more troubling is the fact that DHS apparently does not have a plan in place to track down the aliens who are in violation of the conditions of their ‘parole’ — and, thus, unlawfully in the country,” Wetherell wrote.
While recognizing that he lacks the authority to compel DHS to pursue and apprehend the group of illegal immigrants, the judge directed the agency to provide updates every 30 days regarding their current status. The next update is due on August 18th, the Examiner reported.
“All the Court can do at this point is require DHS to continue to provide updated information on those aliens — for whatever that is worth to those who are responsible for overseeing DHS and holding its policymakers accountable for their acts and omissions,” he wrote.
Wetherell’s TRO was issued just before the conclusion of Title 42, a policy that enabled the swift expulsion of immigrants at the southern border due to a public health emergency.
Immigrant numbers at the southern border dropped sharply in June, the first full month after ending the pandemic-era health mandate. There were 144,571 immigrant encounters in June, compared to 207,834 in June last year and 189,034 in June 2021, bringing the numbers to the lowest in two years.
Several Republicans have demanded that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas be impeached for failing to act to prevent millions of migrants from illegally entering the U.S., as well as tons of deadly drugs, especially fentanyl.
In May, Rep. Lauren Boebert took to social media again to demand that face impeachment.
“Anyone who sees the situation at our Southern Border and thinks it’s okay is clearly not thinking straight. Mayorkas deserves impeachment and he deserves it fast,” she tweeted.