Florida Drops Appeal Over Federal Immigration Policies

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As Gov. Ron DeSantis launched another broadside against the federal government’s immigration policies, the state on Friday said it is dropping a legal challenge against the Biden administration over immigration directives issued early this year.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office filed a motion at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case, saying it is moot because the Biden administration issued “superseding” policies dealing with people entering the country illegally.

Moody took the case to the Atlanta-based appeals court after U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell in May rejected the state’s request for a preliminary injunction against the Biden administration.

Meanwhile, U.S. Department of Justice attorneys this month argued that a federal judge in Pensacola should dismiss a separate lawsuit that Moody filed in September challenging federal immigration policies. U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell has not ruled on that motion.

Moody and Gov. Ron DeSantis have long criticized the Biden administration’s handling of undocumented immigrants and border security, and DeSantis on Friday ratcheted up the criticism by announcing a series of legislative proposals.

During a news conference in Jacksonville, DeSantis called for state lawmakers to “fight against the Biden border crisis” by passing legislation that, for example, would expand a law targeting so-called “sanctuary cities” and bolster efforts to verify the legal eligibility of workers.

As DeSantis runs for re-election next year — and is widely speculated as a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate — immigration could become a high-profile issue during the legislative session that starts Jan. 11.

The case at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals focused heavily on memos issued Jan. 20 and Feb. 18 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about immigration enforcement. The memos set priorities for enforcement, including focusing on immigrants who pose national-security threats, have been convicted of aggravated felonies or have been convicted of gang-related activity.

By Jim Saunders for NEW4JAX
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