A Republican lawsuit threatens Biden’s immigration policy, which thousands used to come to the United States


WASHINGTON (AP) — Valerie LaFosse remembers when she first heard about her immigration programme Designed to allow people to come to the United States from four countries, including her native Haiti.

“I said, ‘Whoa!’ said the Florida teacher, who received a WhatsApp message in January and checked with an immigration attorney that the program was real.

After years of trying to get a green card, her brother and nephew arrived in early August, ready to start a new life. They are two of the nearly 181,000 people who have entered the United States under the Humanitarian Parole Program since President Joe Biden launched the initiative.

But 21 Republican-leaning states are threatening to end the program with a lawsuit to determine its legality, which is set to hear in a Texas court starting Thursday, with a decision coming at a later date.

If the Biden administration loses, it will undermine a broader policy that seeks to encourage immigrants to use the administration’s preferred pathways in the United States or face dire consequences. The administration said it had to act in the absence of congressional action to reform the country’s immigration system.

But a lot of management strategy as well Just one lawsuit away from collapse.

In the Texas trial, Republican states are expected to argue that the Biden administration usurps congressional power by allowing up to 360,000 people a year to enter the United States from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela under the Humanitarian Parole Program. They say the program is an override of parole power meant to be used on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or great public benefit.

The administration argues that it has the ability to use humanitarian parole in this way and credits the initiative with dramatically reducing illegal border crossings by immigrants from those four countries. Program applicants must pass background checks and have a financial sponsor in the United States who insures them. If approved, they must fly into a US airport instead of crossing the southern border. They can then stay in the United States for two years and obtain a work permit.

Immigrant rights groups successfully petitioned to join the legal action on behalf of Lavos and six other people who are sponsoring immigrants. Esther Song, an attorney with the Center for Justice Action, said the groups want to show real people who have volunteered to be sponsors and how ending the program will affect them.

Blas Núñez Neto, assistant secretary of state for border and immigration policy at the US Department of Homeland Security, said on a recent conference call that the government is concerned about the upcoming trial and will appeal if the administration loses.

The case is scheduled to be heard by Judge Drew Tipton in Victoria, Texas, an appointee of Donald Trump Ruled against the Biden administration On whom to give priority to deportation. The federal government unsuccessfully lobbied for the human parole case to be moved from the Tipton courtroom after it suggested that Republican states were brought up in Victoria because they were seeking a suitable judge.

The United States used its humanitarian powers of parole to grant entry to Tens of thousands of Ukrainians When Russia invaded, but the Republican states suit did not challenge this decision.

Anyone can be a sponsor provided they fill out the paperwork. Many, like Lafosse, are sponsoring relatives who have no other way to come to the United States

LaFosse said her brother was approved for a green card a few years ago, but immigration system quotas mean his arrival could be delayed by another six years. Meanwhile, I supported relatives from afar as they tried to survive in a country plagued by economic instability and It is largely controlled by gangs.

A former opposition political leader and human rights activist from Nicaragua, who was imprisoned in his home country for his activities, was in the care of his brother, a US citizen living in El Paso, Texas. The man, who wanted to withhold his identity to protect his family in Nicaragua, came to the United States in July and plans to work in construction.

“I wanted to take this opportunity to save my life,” he said in Spanish.

Members of churches, synagogues, and mosques joined in to care for people they did not know out of religious faith to help others.

Eric Saype sponsors a family member he stayed with when he lived and worked in Nicaragua as a university student in 2014. Sayeb is one of seven sponsors represented by immigrant rights groups in a legal challenge.

His sponsor plans to work in the United States for two years, then return to Nicaragua to be with his wife and two children. Sayeb said his friend would stay at his childhood home in Washington state, where his cousin had offered him a job in an orchard growing pears, cherries, and apples.

Sayeb said he did not hesitate to take care of the man, who he said was part of his “chosen family.” Sayeb has spent big holidays including Christmas with family in Nicaragua and they talk or text every week.

“I can’t really imagine how this program does anything but benefit people, bring people back together,” he said.

The Biden administration’s program appears to be one of the single largest uses of humane parole power, but it’s certainly not the only administration to have used it.

The power has been used again and again in ways big and small including providing income for Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians in the late 1970s, Iraqi Kurds who helped the US in the Gulf War in the 1990s, and Cubans who fled their countries at various times, According to data from the Cato Institute.

The Biden administration started the program for Venezuelans in October 2022 and added Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans in January.

However, some who generally support the program have concerns. Critics say the need for a financial sponsor mainly favors wealthier and well-connected immigrants, while also fearing that The program can be used for exploits immigrants.

It can be difficult to find sponsors for immigrants who don’t already have family ties in the United States, said Muriel Saenz, who helps immigrants through the Nicaraguan Around the World group, based in Texas. You know, that can be a harder sell.

“It’s a very big responsibility,” said Sainz. “Legally you adopt people for two years.”


Salomon reported from Miami.

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