A federal judge is considering holding Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials in contempt over their suspected noncompliance with his temporary restraining order.
Late last Thursday, Judge Thomas Kent Wetherell of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida blocked the Biden administration from releasing illegal immigrants onto city streets when non-governmental organizations reached full capacity. DHS had plans to begin en mass parole of unvetted aliens without court notices on Friday after the COVID-era Title 42 rules expired.
Wetherell ruled against the Biden administration after Florida attorney general Ashley Moody sued DHS, arguing that the new immigration policy violated a court order she obtained earlier this year. Thirteen other states have also filed suit against the “catch and release” policy.
According to a government court filing, DHS released more than 6,000 people without court dates before the court order on Thursday, and 2,500 more the next day.
Lawyers from the Department of Justice provided these astounding numbers in response to Wetherell’s demand for an explanation after the Washington Times reported that DHS had continued releasing unvetted aliens in violation of his order.
“It has come to the Court’s attention that there are published news reports stating that DHS ‘paroled’ 2,500 aliens after the Court entered its temporary restraining order,” Wetherell wrote on Monday, citing the report. “The Court takes allegations of noncompliance with its orders very seriously, irrespective of the source of the allegations.”
The Florida judge ordered the Biden administration to explain why it should not be held in contempt for violating the temporary restraining order.
In response to the judge, lawyers from the Department of Justice acknowledged that a slight amount of “possible noncompliance” may have occurred, but insisted that most of the 2,500 migrants who were released on Friday had been fully processed.
“DHS took immediate steps to ensure compliance with the Court’s TRO by sending instructions to the field to cease processing under the Parole with Conditions policy in advance of the TRO taking effect. It appears that those instructions generally were followed. Defendants’ review of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) systems has identified some data indicating possible noncompliance with respect to a relatively small number of individuals,” read the response from the defendants.
According to the government’s filing, officials identified 167 individuals “who appear to have been processed for Parole with Conditions, but who do not reflect a process complete time prior to 11:59 p.m. on May 11, 2023.” The DOJ asked for two days to examine these cases so it can provide a further details.
“Because the Washington Times article cites an anonymous source for its numbers, Defendants cannot assess where those numbers came from or how they were generated,” the filing read.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lashed out at the Florida judge on Friday, calling his order barring the masse release of unvetted illegals into the U.S. interior “sabotage.”
“Look, the way we see that, it’s sabotage, it’s pure and simple,” Pierre told reporters. “That’s how that reads to us.”
Karine Jean-Pierre says not being able to release illegal immigrants into U.S. communities without court dates is akin to "sabotage" pic.twitter.com/zvnrzRy0bb
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 12, 2023
“This ignorant and dangerous rhetoric ignores the fact that the evidence presented in this case shows that the chaos that the president acknowledged has been going on at the southern border for a number of years, is largely a problem of the defendants’, the administration’s, own making. If it is sabotage for a federal court to tell the federal government it must comply with the law, then so be it,” Wetherell declared in response.
On Monday, Wetherell denied the Biden regime’s request to stay his order blocking the en masse releases. The Biden administration was expected to appeal to the 11th Circuit if their request was denied.