Judge rejects Red States’ challenge to a humanitarian parole program for asylum seekers

(Eric Gay/associated press)

Judge rejects Red States’ challenge to a humanitarian parole program for asylum seekers

Immigration and the border

March 8, 2024

A federal judge in Texas on Friday upheld a key part of President Biden’s immigration policy that allows a limited number of migrants from four countries to enter the U.S. on humanitarian grounds, rejecting a challenge from Republican-led states that said the program caused an economic burden. on them.

U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton ruled in favor of the humanitarian parole program that allows up to 30,000 asylum seekers from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela combined into the U.S. each month. Eliminating the program would undermine a broader policy that seeks to encourage migrants to use the Biden administration’s preferred routes to the U.S. or face harsh consequences.

Texas and 20 other states that filed a lawsuit argued that the program forces them to spend millions on health care, education and public safety for the asylum seekers. An attorney who worked with the Texas attorney general’s office on the legal battle said the program created a shadow immigration system.

Federal government advocates countered that migrants admitted through the policy were helping with the shortage of U.S. agricultural workers.

An appeal seemed likely.

Since the launch of the program, more than 357,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela have been paroled and allowed to enter the country through January. Haitians do

been by

was by far the largest group to use the program, with 138,000 people coming from that country, followed by 86,000 Venezuelans, 74,000 Cubans and 58,000 Nicaraguans.

Tipton is an appointee of former President Trump who ruled against the Biden administration in 2022 over an order that determined who should be prioritized for deportation.

The program will start in fall 2022. Migrants must apply online, arrive at an airport and have a financial sponsor in the US. If approved, they can stay for two years and receive a work permit.

During a trial in August, Tipton declined to issue a temporary injunction that would halt the parole program nationwide. Some states said the initiative has benefited them.

Tipton questioned how Texas could claim financial losses if data showed the parole program would actually reduce the number of migrants coming to the U.S.

When the policy took effect, the Biden administration had been preparing to end a pandemic-era policy at the border known as Title 42, which barred migrants from seeking asylum at ports of entry and many who entered illegally to be turned off immediately.

Supporters of the policy also drew criticism from Tipton, who questioned whether living in poverty was enough to make migrants eligible. Elissa Fudim, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, responded: I think probably not.

Lawyers for the federal government and immigrant rights groups said Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans are also in many cases fleeing oppressive regimes, escalating violence and worsening political conditions that endanger their lives.

The lawsuit did not challenge the use of humanitarian parole for tens of thousands of Ukrainians who came after the Russian invasion.

The program’s proponents said each case is reviewed individually and that some people who went through the final approval step after arriving in the U.S. have been rejected, though they did not provide figures.


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