Florida Congressman Files Bill To Give States Ability To Enforce Immigration Laws When Federal Government Won’t

Bethany Blankley, The Center Square

U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., has filed a bill that would give states a greater ability to enforce immigration laws when the federal government won’t.

Posey and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced his bill, the Immigration and Enforcement Partnership Act of 2022, after the Biden administration decided to terminate Title 42, a federal public health rule used during national public health emergencies. Moody has brought suit against the government numerous times for violating immigration laws.

“Maintaining operational control over our nation’s borders is critical to our security and our ability to stop human traffickers, drug smugglers and other violent criminals and terrorists who mean to do our communities harm,” Posey said in a statement. “When the federal government abdicates its role in protecting our nation’s borders and refuses to enforce immigration laws allowing millions of people to illegally cross into our country, states should have authority to protect their citizens.”

RELATED: Bipartisan Group Fighting Back Against Biden’s Effort to Lift Title 42, A Move Expected to Create Surge of Illegal Immigrants

HR 7413 will allow the secretary of DHS to enforce federal immigration law under certain conditions. DHS has the choice to either enforce the law, or to delegate federal immigration duties to state officials.

According to the bill, state attorneys general would identify how DHS isn’t fulfilling its non-discretionary duties under Title II of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which includes arresting, detaining and removing criminal and arriving illegal immigrants. According to a summary, the bill also calls for the court to speed up proceedings related to these cases to the maximum extent possible.

“In less than a year and a half, the Biden administration has obliterated our southwest border and it’s about to get even worse as the president prepares to end Title 42,” Moody said in a statement. “We can no longer trust this administration to enforce the law. The time is now for quick action to protect American citizens. That is why Representative Posey and I are taking this matter to Congress and asking the legislative branch to let the states protect our citizens by enforcing public-safety immigration laws when Biden won’t.”

In President Joe Biden’s first year in office, after he implemented an open border policy, more than two million people from over 150 countries were encountered or apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents entering the U.S. illegally. The number does not reflect the hundreds of thousands that have evaded law enforcement.

Title 42 is viewed by many as the last barrier against illegal immigration to the U.S. through its southern border. It was created after the Biden Administration implemented major immigration changes. Numerous lawsuits were filed, some from Florida and others. According to border agents, 18,000 individuals are likely to illegally enter the U.S. each day when Title 42 expires on May 24, according to Border Agents. Republicans and Democrats both called for the Biden government to respect immigration law, and to not repeal Title 42.

CBP data shows that deportations dropped by 70% last year despite Title 42 giving permission to Customs and Border Patrol agents for them to deport or refuse entry. CBP agents can only enforce federal immigration law under the new Mayorkas guidance.

According to Posey and Moody, illegal immigration is costing Florida taxpayers over $100 million per year.

“The cost to public safety is harder to calculate as the nation struggles with a deadly opioid crisis claiming 21 lives a day in Florida,” they said in a joint statement.

RELATED : Psaki Confirms That the Biden Administration Gives Smartphones to Illegal Immigrants

Posey and Moody are concerned that the federal government’s “seeming disinterest with enforcing immigration laws will exacerbate the opioid crisis and leave the door open for unmitigated drug and human trafficking.

“The crisis is being exacerbated by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 100 times stronger than morphine,” they argued in a joint statement. “According to CBP, since Biden took office, the amount of fentanyl seized at the border is enough to kill every man, woman and child in the nation more than seven times over.”

With Mexico being the number one source of fentanyl imports into the U.S., it’s imperative that states be able to enforce federal immigration law when the federal government won’t, Posey and Moody argue.

Posey’s district, which includes Brevard and Indian River counties and a small portion of Orange County, has been impacted by increased deaths caused by fentanyl. National news was made last July when multiple deaths and overdoses occurred in Brevard County. Investigators found that opioids mixed with fentanyl is a “direct contributor to the recent uptick in overdoses and deaths,” WESH 2 News reported.

Moody made several public service announcements informing Americans of the dangers posed by fentanyl, and other illegal drugs that are being brought into America through their southern border.

The Center Square permission granted this syndicated version.