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Trial to Begin Over Biden Policy Letting Migrants From 4 Countries Into the US

US President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Russia and Ukraine from the White House in Washington, US, Feb 15, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

In a pivotal legal battle that has garnered significant attention, Texas takes the lead in a lawsuit backed by 21 states, challenging a key aspect of President Joe Biden’s immigration policy. This policy, which permits the entry of thousands of individuals from Central America and the Caribbean under humanitarian parole, is set to face scrutiny in a Texas federal courtroom starting Thursday.


Under the provisions of the humanitarian parole program, the United States has opened its doors to up to 30,000 individuals each month, hailing from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. This program, intended to offer a safe and legal pathway, stands as one element in the broader immigration policy of the Biden administration. Texas argues that this policy represents a significant overreach of presidential authority, forming the core of their lawsuit.

The program, initially introduced in the fall of 2022 to cater to Venezuelans, was subsequently expanded in January. Aspiring participants are required to apply online, possess a financial sponsor within the United States, and arrive at designated airports. Once approved, these individuals are granted a two-year stay along with work authorization.

The efficacy of this program has not gone unnoticed. Legal representatives from the U.S. Justice Department, tasked with defending the federal government in this lawsuit, have attested to its success in curbing migration to the U.S.-Mexico border. The reduction in migration pressure has been cited as a key benefit of the program in the court documents.

The trial, presided over by U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton in Victoria, Texas, is anticipated to span two days and will be live-streamed to a federal courtroom in Houston. The final verdict is expected to be delivered at a later date by Judge Tipton, a judicial appointee of the previous administration who has, in the past, ruled against the Biden administration’s deportation priorities.

The crux of the states’ argument rests on their assertion that the Biden administration’s parole program represents an “extreme example” of disregarding immigration laws, which dictate that parole should be granted on a case-by-case basis for substantial public benefit or urgent humanitarian reasons. Notably, the legal challenge raised by these Republican-led states targets the humanitarian parole granted to migrants from the four aforementioned countries, yet notably excludes any concerns about the same parole mechanism being employed to admit tens of thousands of Ukrainians in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

Texas, the leading plaintiff, further contends that the parole program has placed undue financial burdens upon the state. This financial strain encompasses the provision of various services, ranging from detention and education to social and driver’s license programs for paroled migrants. The argument sheds light on the multifaceted nature of immigration policies, intertwining legal considerations with economic realities.

As the courtroom drama unfolds, immigrant rights groups have intervened, advocating for the continuation of the humanitarian parole program. These groups align in their view that the program offers a secure channel for migrants in dire need, steering them away from human smugglers while also alleviating pressures on border enforcement agents. In their perspective, this initiative stands as an instrumental force in mitigating the ongoing humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.

As the trial commences, it is evident that the stakes are high. The parole program has already vetted and authorized over 72,000 Haitians, 63,000 Venezuelans, 41,000 Cubans, and 34,000 Nicaraguans by the end of July. These numbers underscore the significant impact and reach of the program, which has become central to the debate surrounding immigration policies and their real-world implications.

In an era where immigration remains a deeply divisive and complex issue, the outcome of this trial will undoubtedly resonate far beyond the courtroom. It will set a precedent, shaping the contours of humanitarian and legal considerations as they intersect on the national stage. As Texas and its allies challenge the Biden administration’s policy, the case underscores the ongoing struggle to balance compassionate responses with the enforcement of immigration regulations in a rapidly changing world.


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