The Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are among the defendants named in the complaint.
“We are in a situation where we have a disaster on the southern border. That’s been apparent for many, many months,” DeSantis told reporters at a news conference Tuesday, during which he outlined steps he is taking to counter the White House on issues related to immigration.
Tuesday’s lawsuit, filed by Florida Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody in Pensacola, Florida, federal court, claims that — under “catch and release” — migrants who are “illegally released” by the Biden administration are “arriving or will arrive in Florida, harming the State’s quasi-sovereign interests and forcing it to incur millions of dollars in expenses.”
As a result, the lawsuit in part seeks to deem unlawful both the release of undocumented immigrants subject to mandatory detention and the paroling of undocumented immigrants “without engaging in case-by-case adjudication or abiding by the other limits on that authority.” The complaint also challenges what it characterizes as a failure “to serve charging documents or initiate removal proceedings” against “plainly inadmissible” undocumented immigrants being released into the US.
The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. The White House referred CNN to the Justice Department, which did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Jesse Bless, the director of federal litigation at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told CNN on Tuesday that “anytime a state wants to take on the federal government about how it’s enforcing federal law — that is an incredibly hard thing to do.”
“There’s probably no greater topic or area where it’s more of a federal issue than immigration. Who comes in and out of this country is entirely — it’s actually in the Constitution — I mean, it’s totally entrusted to the federal government,” Bless continued.
“It’s one thing to file a complaint where you just simply have to allege things as fact. And it’s entirely another thing to win a final judgment where you actually have to provide evidence. When I read the complaint, I did not see evidence attached to the complaint.”
The scope of the challenge came into focus again last month, when US Customs and Border Protection announced the agency had encountered 212,672 people at the US-Mexico border in July, a two-decade high.
CNN’s Gregory Lemos contributed to this report.