June 3, 2023

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The Biden administration has temporarily barred the release of immigrants in Border Patrol custody without warrants.

A US Border Patrol agent monitors migrants gathered in San Diego on May 8. Mike Blake/Reuters

A federal judge in Florida temporarily blocked the Biden administration from releasing immigrants in Border Patrol custody without court notices, according to a court filing Thursday night.

The ruling will coincide with the conclusion of Title 42 at 11:59 p.m. Miami time on Thursday, and will expire in 14 days.

The Biden administration is expected to appeal. For now, the ruling removes one of the federal government’s main tools for trying to manage the number of immigrants in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody, in some cases releasing them from detention with conditions.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Biden administration is preparing to release migrants detained at the U.S.-Mexico border without restrictions amid high numbers of border apprehensions and tremendous pressure on border facilities. As of this Wednesday, there were more than 28,000 immigrants in Border Patrol custody, exceeding capacity.

After authorities screened immigrants, the administration released them without previously scheduled court dates in the face of a backlash. The latest measure would release immigrants on a case-by-case basis on “parole” and require them to register with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Some may also be placed in alternative detention programs.

The Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, said this Wednesday that this would apply to a portion of the detained population.

On Thursday, Florida — which has previously opposed releasing immigrants from detention — filed an emergency petition asking the court to temporarily block the U.S. government’s plan.

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“The memo does not explain how this increase was unexpected or why DHS waited until the day before the Title 42 order was finalized before issuing the new parole policy,” the ruling said.

According to the order, a preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for May 19.