Florida joins legal challenge against plan to end Title 42
Image via Reuters.

The lawsuit marks Florida's latest effort to address illegal immigration.

Attorney General Ashely Moody is among a slew of GOP leaders challenging the Joe Biden administration’s plan to end a policy allowing the swift deportation of migrants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Donald Trump-era policy, Title 42, allows officials to fast-track migrant deportations and limits migrant asylum opportunities.

President Biden announced plans to end the policy last month, setting a sunset date of May 23. Moody is accompanied by 20 other Attorneys General suing over the plan. Other states include Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri, among others.

“Ending Title 42 would be a disaster and further the chaos at the southwest border that is making it easier for drug cartels and human smugglers to advance their illicit practices in our country,” Moody said in a statement.

Title 42 was perhaps most notably used in September 2021, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under President Biden deported thousands of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas.

The migrants sheltered under a bridge connecting Texas and Mexico, drawing international news headlines. DHS deported more than 4,000 Haitian migrants in nine days.

The lawsuit itself spells out a doomsday scenario. In a statement, Moody further warned of the consequences and pointed to the nation’s ongoing “border crisis.”

More than 25,000 migrants are sheltering near the Southern border awaiting the May 23 deadline, she warned citing a news report. The same March report also says border officials have used Title 42 more than 1 million times since its inception.

Moody’s lawsuit marks Florida’s latest reaction to the Biden administration’s handling of the Southern border. Gov. Ron DeSantis in June deployed 50 state law enforcement officers to help secure a portion of the border as part of Operation Lone Star.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott kicked off the border security operation in March 2021, blaming bad federal policy. Florida’s involvement in the mission began June 26 of that year and ended Aug. 14.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), state police recorded more than 300 arrests for human trafficking, narcotics and stolen vehicles during the mission.

They also recorded contact with more than 4,400 immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally, roughly 25% of whom reported plans to settle in Florida.

“During the course of Operation Lone Star, Florida agents interviewed numerous undocumented migrants and, in those conversations, many of the groups indicated their final destination being Florida’s larger cities such as Kissimmee, Orlando, Miami, Hialeah and Jacksonville,” FDLE spokesperson Gretl Plessinger told Florida Politics.

DeSantis’ concerns over the Southern border are shared by Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature. Lawmakers in March passed a measure (SB 1808) cracking down on illegal immigration.

Sponsored by Fernandina Beach Republican Sen. Aaron Bean, the bill bars state business with companies that transport people who are in the country illegally.

It also requires counties to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and programs. Many counties already have reached such agreements.

Lawmakers also provided DeSantis with $12 million to transport immigrants living in the U.S. illegally out of the state. The Republican Governor issued a warning to such migrants on Thursday: “do not come to Florida.”

“Life will not be easy for you, because we are obligated to uphold the immigration laws of this country, even if our federal government and other states won’t,” DeSantis told Fox News.

The lawsuit is available online.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • PeterH

    April 15, 2022 at 11:33 am

    Title 42 is a legal maneuver to slow immigration BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC.

    Apparently the Pandemic is finally seeing a remission.

    Pushing to continue title 42 will certainly go to court……. It’s kicking the can down the road.. The answer is COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM WITH STRICT GUIDELINES ON immigration entry.

    Call your members of Congress!

  • Just a thought

    April 16, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    Are they saying we all become a punta in a volgure way.and do they say witheld is for first time offender’s ? some I think not and some I think so

  • Just a thought

    April 16, 2022 at 12:16 pm

    To tell the truth migrants are more compassionate then the counter white parol

Comments are closed.


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