A federal judge ruled that the state of Florida can’t block immigration directives put into place by President Joe Biden’s administration just because it opposes them.
U.S.District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell ruled against Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s lawsuit that alleged that President Joe Biden and his cabinet officials violated their oaths of office after the administration issued memo’s to stop the detention of immigrants who had been to prison.
In March, Moody filed a lawsuit alleging that the President and his cabinet created “a public-safety nightmare” when he issued two executive memos on immigration earlier this year.
The first memo, issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on January 20, said the agency was setting a 100-day “pause on certain removals” as it reviewed policies and practices.
The immigration directive was later revised in a February 18 memo issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The agency detailed “interim priorities” for immigration enforcement, including focusing on immigrants who pose national security threats or have been convicted of gang-related activity or other felonies.
Honeywell ruled that the memos aren’t subject to judicial review because they are “interim policies”—not final laws or actions.
“Clearly, the interim policies are a work in progress as evidenced by the additions to the policies from the January 20 memo to the February 18 memo. Moreover, the February 18 memo indicates that the Secretary is continuing to get input from the leadership of ICE, CBP, and DHS. The guidelines are just that; they are not statutes and do not have the status of law as they constitute a prioritization and not a prohibition of enforcement,” the order said. “The ordering of priorities is not a refusal to act, but rather is a specific choice to act as it relates to certain matters over others,” Honeywell said.
In the lawsuit, Moody argues that the “interim policies should be enjoined for violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) pending judicial review.”
“The Biden Administration cannot simply order federal immigration officials to ignore the clear commands of Congress,” the lawsuit says. “The unprecedented, flagrant disregard for the public safety of Americans and Floridians is a radical departure from even Obama-era policy.”
“Here Florida simply disagrees with the choices made by the Biden Administration as to the priorities,” the judge’s 23-page order reads.
Moody has already filed an appeal.