Florida Sues Over ‘Public-Safety Nightmare’

Florida is suing the Biden administration for failing to detain and deport criminal aliens. State Attorney General Ashley Moody says the inaction “flouted congressional statutes, failed to protect U.S. citizens … and created what will quickly become a public-safety nightmare.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis followed up with a challenge to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejando Mayorkas: “If you can’t remove [criminal aliens]then what do you have? Just a complete lawless system and a complete open border?”

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, asserts that administration directives are allowing criminal aliens to be released onto the streets, causing “unquantifiable harm to Florida’s citizenry and forcing the state to expend its own law enforcement resources to pick up the slack.”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States bars states from engaging in their own immigration enforcement activities, Moody’s office argues that the only available remedy is to order the administration to enforce congressional statutes that stipulate federal authorities “shall take into custody any alien” released from criminal detention. (Concurrent with Florida’s action, Arizona and Montana filed a similar suit against the administration.)

Moody’s lawsuit outlines the public-safety implications in the Sunshine State:

  • In fiscal year 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Miami removed 7,046 aliens. Of those, 3,476 were convicted criminals and 1,356 had pending criminal charges.
  • Florida’s federal inmate population stands at 8,801, more than 20 percent of whom are aliens.
  • Untold numbers of criminal aliens who have been released and are currently at large in Florida will not be arrested or detained by ICE. These include sex offenders who were targets of a recently scuttled ICE operation.

In an unprecedented move, the Biden administration is limiting removals to terrorists, spies, aggravated felons and certain gang members, the lawsuit says. Such discretionary restrictions result in free passes for criminal aliens involved in drug smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, firearms offenses and all manner of “moral turpitude.”

“For over two decades, administrations — both Democrat and Republican — detained and removed criminal aliens,” Moody noted. “This concept was so uncontroversial that the law imposing this non-discretionary requirement, was enacted in a bipartisan fashion and enforced for the eight years that Joseph Biden was vice president.”

What’s changed Mr. President, besides your title?

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