Bethany Blankley, The Center Square
Florida joined the multi-state coalition headed by Texas that sued the Biden government for restoring an Obama-era program allowing illegal immigrants to enter the U.S. and stay there, bypassing the laws of Congress.
In addition to Texas and Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alaska joined the lawsuit over the Biden administration’s reinstating a 2014-era Central America Minors (CAM) Program that was halted by the Trump administration in 2017.
After 12 Republican attorneys general participated in an event in McAllen Texas hosted by Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, the lawsuit was announced.
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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody attended the summit and met with law enforcement officials “about the dramatic overrun of the border brought on by President Joe Biden’s reckless immigration policies – the impact of which is resulting in public safety ramifications for citizens and taxpayers far beyond U.S. states that border Mexico,” she said.
“After seeing the chaos in person, it is even more clear to me now that Biden and [Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas are building their own illegal organization to transport illegal immigrants into and around our country – thumbing their noses at federal laws. I will not only work aggressively to stop these illegal acts, but I will continue to inform Floridians about what their federal government is actually doing, and the dangers associated with those decisions,” she added.
Moody was back at the Paxton border for the second time, having previously attended the Del Rio border summit about Operation Lone Star and the efforts of both Texas and Florida. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis discussed the Texas Governor’s border security initiative.
DeSantis stated that he was shocked to discover how many illegal immigrants were being arrested. They had all arrived at Florida from the south border.
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Florida and Texas sued the government over their immigration policies, last year, and vaccine mandates.
Of this latest lawsuit, DeSantis said he was glad AG Moody was “helping to block the reckless immigration policies of the Biden administration.”
“The Biden administration continues to disregard the laws of this country and allow massive numbers of illegal aliens across the border, without regard to possible criminal backgrounds or connections to illicit activity,” DeSantis said. “Not only are these illegal aliens allowed free reign in this country, but the administration also pushes the burden and costs onto the states and ignores the consequences of its policies.”
The CAM program provides certain minors who entered the U.S. illegally the ability to secure “protected status” instead of being deported. The status then enables them to petition the government to bring in extended family members, including adult caregivers, from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, “without going through the proper legal channels,” Moody said.
CAM covers illegal immigrants with a pending application for asylum. But many people may not be granted asylum and fail to show up at hearings.
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“There is no authority in federal law for this sort of program,” the AGs who sued argue, as Congress never authorized it.
The Biden administration reinstating CAM, the lawsuit argues, “usurps the power of Congress to dictate a national scheme of immigration laws and is contrary to the Immigration Naturalization Act.”
Biden Administration launched the program in March 2017. It was then expanded and revised last June. It stated that the program would begin to process eligible applications which were not closed after CAM ended in 2017. Then, it will accept new applicants with updated guidance.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Mayorkas said reinstating CAM was “responsible” and another “component of the President’s multi-pronged approach to address the challenges of irregular migration throughout North and Central America.” Blinken and Mayorkas said they were “proud” to “expand access to the program to a greater number of qualifying individuals.”
According to them, the eligible applicants are legal guardians and parents, who have been in the U.S. illegally withholding removal status, deferred forced departure status, or on parole.
The changes “will dramatically expand access to the CAM program,” Blinken and Mayorkas said, adding that they were “firmly committed to welcoming people to the United States with humanity and respect, as well as providing a legal alternative to irregular migration.
We are delivering on our promise to promote safe, orderly, and humane migration from Central America through this expansion of legal pathways to seek humanitarian protection in the United States.”
The AGs argues that most individuals in the program don’t qualify as refugees and instead of the program being used on a case-by-case basis, depending on urgent humanitarian-related circumstances or significant public benefit, it’s being applied on a broad scale. It’s “arbitrary and capricious,” the AGs argue, “and violates the president’s duty to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed.”
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The lawsuit highlights the problems the program is causing Floridians, illegally admitting illegal immigrants to Florida. This has the potential of costing taxpayers many millions.
The complaint claims that Florida has spent more than $100 millions annually in prisons for illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. This is in addition to the untold number of public benefits illegal immigrants receive, regardless of their immigration status, including education, emergency medical services and victim’s services.
The Center Square permission granted this syndicated version.