TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — On the second day of Florida’s federal immigration trial, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s legal team compelled more damning evidence through cross-examination of a federal witness.
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz gave stunning testimony revealing unprecedented releases at the U.S. southwestern border. Chief Ortiz admitted that President Biden’s policies caused an overwhelming increase in illegal immigration.
“We are using their own officials to prove to the court that the Biden administration knew its policies would create the chaos and destruction we now see at our southwestern border,” Attorney General Ashley Moody tells The Florida Standard.
“SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES” AFTER BIDEN TOOK POWER
“Regardless of the outcome of this monumental trial – which we will win – the evidence we have uncovered is shining a light on the fact that Biden purposefully destroyed federal immigration protections and caused the intentional release of hundreds of thousands of immigrants into the country,” Moody added.
Under oath, Chief Ortiz testified that rapid, substantial changes in policy occurred right after the Biden administration took office. Those changes reduced the consequences facing border crossers and caused an increase in illegal immigration at the southwestern border.
Chief Ortiz also testified that changes and restrictions to processing pathways by the Biden administration left the U.S. Border Patrol with no choice but to release illegal immigrants encountered at the border. According to Ortiz, the Border Patrol believed it was instructed – contrary to federal law – to only detain certain individuals listed in a memorandum issued on January 20, 2021 by Acting Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security David Pekoske.
THE CHIEF’S TESTIMONY
Florida is the first state to take the Biden administration to trial over its unlawful catch-and-release policy. Below are excerpts from the cross-examination of Chief Ortiz.
Question: “And, if you reduce consequences that deter migrant flows, illegal immigration is going to increase in the United States, right?”
Question: “And, at the beginning of the Biden administration, the Biden administration reduced the potential consequences facing migrants traveling to the border, right?”
Question: “At the beginning of the Biden administration, the Biden administration reduced the potential consequences facing migrants and that increased flows to the border, right?”
Answer: “I would imagine that it had an impact on the flows that we were experiencing, yes.”
Question: “So, the policy changes and the processing pathways that have been restricted by the Biden administration were going to cause the Border Patrol to have to release single adults and family units – is that correct?”
Answer: “That, coupled with the reduced processing space or detention capacity within our facilities, and the increases in encounters that we were experiencing at the time all were part of that decision, yes.”
Question: “Okay. And, if ICE either doesn't respond to your detention request or one of your officer's detention requests or tells you no, Border Patrol just doesn't have anything to do other than to release?”
Answer: “We don't have a choice, you're right.”
Question: “So, you as the deputy chief of the Border Patrol, when you got the Pekoske memo, thought that you should detain on a mandatory basis only those individuals listed within those priorities, correct?”
Answer: “That's correct.”
The trial is expected to continue through Thursday.