FIRST ON FOX: A coalition of 20 states and a leading conservative rights group is suing the Biden administration over its recently expanded humanitarian parole program, which allows tens of thousands of migrants from certain countries a month into the US – arguing the program is unlawful.
The lawsuit, filed by Texas and America First Legal in the South District of Texas, joins 19 other states seeking to block the Biden administration’s parole program, which allows up to 30,000 migrants into the United States from Haiti, Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela leaves every month.
The Biden administration announced the program for Venezuelans in October, which allowed a limited number to fly direct to the US as long as they did not enter illegally, already had a sponsor in the US, and passed certain checks.
Earlier this month, President Biden announced that the program would be expanded to include Haitians, Nicaraguans and Cubans, and that the program would allow up to 30,000 people into the United States each month. It was announced along with an extension of Title 42 deportations to these nationalities.
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“We expect this measure to significantly reduce the number of people trying to cross our southwestern border without going through a judicial process,” he said.
In the lawsuit, led by Texas and America First Legal and joined by 19 other Republican-led states, plaintiffs argue that the program is illegal given the federal government’s “exceptionally limited” probationary powers.
The lawsuit notes that parole is limited by Congress on a “case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit” — a standard the program says the lawsuit fails to meet.
“The parole program established by the department fails on each of the three limiting factors of the law. It is not an isolated case, there are no urgent humanitarian reasons and it does not bring significant public benefit. Instead, it amounts to the creation of a new visa program that will allow hundreds of thousands of foreigners into the United States who otherwise have no basis to do so. This disregards the clear boundaries imposed by Congress instead of following them.
The Biden administration said the program is one of several ways to expand legal migration routes to combat the ongoing migrant influx at the border, with historic numbers reaching the border every month — and is urging Congress to pass broader immigration reform legislation to do so.
Separately, over the past year it has used humanitarian parole to allow Afghans and Ukrainians into the United States. But conservative critics have said the latest program is illegal and is facilitating rather than stopping the migrant push.
The lawsuit says the program is also unlawful because it failed to comply with the notice and comment requirements required by the Administrative Procedures Act — which has at least temporarily quashed a number of immigration policies in recent years. It also argues that the states face “substantial irreparable harm from the Department’s abuse of its probation power, potentially allowing hundreds of thousands of additional aliens to enter each of their already overwhelmed territories”.
“Every state in America, especially border states like Texas, is being crushed by the effects of illegal immigration,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Biden’s open borders agenda has created a humanitarian crisis that is increasing crime and violence on our streets, overwhelming local communities and worsening the opioid crisis. This unlawful amnesty program, which will invite hundreds of thousands of foreigners to the United States each year, will only drastically worsen this immigration crisis.”
The lawsuit is also the latest in a series of legal challenges to Biden administration policies by America First Legal — a conservative rights group created by former Trump White House official Stephen Miller, whom he describes as “an the pinnacle of litigation” to save America’s borders from complete annihilation at the hands of this lawless government.”
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Miller described the Biden program as “pre-amnesty for illegal aliens before they even arrive at our border.” He also compared it to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which granted protections from deportation to illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors.
“This is a dramatic escalation in the open borders crusade — not only is Biden freely admitting illegal aliens arriving at our borders, but he is now going abroad to pre-approve countless illegal aliens into our country without any legal basis whatsoever stream whatever. It is illegal, unconstitutional and despicable,” he said.
The states joining the lawsuit with Texas are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia Wyoming.
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The new probation program came after more than 250,000 migrants were found at the southern border in December, a new record. However, the Biden administration believes the new measures are already having an impact and that encounters with migrants from these nationalities at the border have decreased.
“The December update shows that our new border enforcement measures are working. Even as the overall number of encounters increased as smugglers spread misinformation about the court-ordered repeal of Health Order Title 42, we continued to see a sharp decline in the number of unlawful Venezuelans crossing our southwestern border, down 82% from September 2022.” , Acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Troy Miller said in a statement last week. “Initial data suggests that the expanded measures are having a similar impact on Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans, and we look forward to sharing the additional data in the next update.”