Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a federal lawsuit last year against the Biden administration alleging its practice of releasing illegal aliens from detention violated federal law. The case argued that Florida citizens were harmed because the administration secretly sent the released aliens inside the Sunshine State and many other locations inside the country. After the Biden DOJ filed a motion to dismiss the case, the court ruled emphatically on Wednesday that the case will go forward.
The DOJ’s motion had alleged a number of reasons for dismissing the case, including its claim that Florida had improperly alleged that the Biden administration had a “non-detention policy” for illegal immigrants.
U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell issued the order denying the motion to dismiss. Judge Wetherell was nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida by President Donald Trump in 2018.
The judge wrote in his ruling that the court is “wholly unpersuaded” by the DOJ arguments that the Biden administration has “unfettered discretion” to decide whether it will comply with the immigration laws that have been enacted by Congress. He also disagreed with the proposition that the executive branch could apply the statutes in any manner it chooses, regardless of what federal courts or individual states like Florida may do to object.
Wetherell wrote that the DOJ position is as “remarkable as it is wrong” since it is well established that not even the president is above the law. He held that the court has the authority to state what the law is and to declare executive action that violates the law or the Constitution to be invalid.
The judge ruled that the factual allegations raised by Florida should be tested in court and said that if they are proven to be true, the “court most certainly can (and will) do something about it.”
The DOJ legal team had attempted to convince the judge that the Florida allegations did not deserve to go forward to a trial, claiming that any damages caused by illegal aliens being shipped into the state were “hypothetical.” The judge disagreed, finding that the Biden administration does not have a free hand to release aliens in mass without assessing the risk associated with each individual that federal law requires.
The case will now move forward with scheduling matters leading up to a full trial of the allegations raised by the state.