Texas

Texas is suing the Biden administration’s new immigration policy

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to supporters after being sworn into office Jan. 10. Paxton’s office joined other Republican-led states Tuesday in suing the Biden administration over new immigration policies. Photo credit: Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, alleging a new immigration program the president announced last month that would allow 360,000 people a year from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to enter the United States land would allow would be illegal.

Texas, which leads a coalition of 20 states, filed the lawsuit in federal district court in Victoria.

Last month, Biden and US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced a parole program that would allow 30,000 people a month to enter the US legally from the four countries if they apply from their home countries, pass a background check and show they have that they have a financial backers in the US

If approved, they can stay in the country for up to two years and get a work permit. Once in the country, they can apply for asylum.

As part of the plan, the Biden administration also began using the emergency health order known as Title 42 to expel the same number of migrants from those four countries to Mexico if they attempt to enter the United States illegally. According to the Department of Homeland Security, Mexico agreed to accept up to 30,000 migrants from those countries each month under Title 42.

The lawsuit says the parole program was modeled after the same program that allowed Ukrainians to enter the United States after the February 2022 Russian invasion. However, the recent parole program does not meet the criteria to be legal, the lawsuit alleges.

“The parole program established by the department fails on each of the three limiting factors of the law. It is not an isolated case, has no urgent humanitarian cause and does not bring any significant public benefit,” the lawsuit reads.

Many people leaving Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela are fleeing political instability and local gang violence. The US has imposed economic sanctions on the countries and some of their political leaders, and has accused their governments of human rights abuses and political corruption.

Texas has filed more than 20 lawsuits in federal court against the Biden administration, many targeting the president’s immigration policies. A majority of the lawsuits were filed in courtrooms overseen by Trump-appointed judges.

Paxton’s office was successful in temporarily halting some of the Biden administration’s immigration policies. Most recently, Texas joined an Arizona-led lawsuit that has forced the government to further enforce Title 42, which the Trump administration invoked in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began deporting migrants to Mexico without them allow to apply for asylum.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/01/24/texas-paxton-biden-lawsuit-immigration-asylum-parole/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom that educates and engages Texans in state politics and politics. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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