Twenty Republican-led states, including Texas and Florida, are asking a Texas judge to kill a humanitarian parole program that allows people fleeing war, crisis, and poverty in Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to enter into the U.S. legally.
President Biden announced the parole program for the four countries during a speech on border security and enforcement earlier this month. It allows up to 30,000 migrants from those four countries into the U.S. each month. Through the Title 42 public health policy, the other migrants and asylum seekers are expelled to Mexico. More than twice as many people arrive from the four countries each month than will be allowed in, meaning many more will be expelled as well.
In the lawsuit, the states allege the Biden administration has “no basis” for offering such a parole program. It also “fails each of the law’s three limiting factors,” the lawsuit alleges: “It is not case-by-case, is not for urgent humanitarian reasons, and advances no significant public benefit.”
Cuba has been hit hard with an economic crisis defined by extreme inflation, a shrinking GDP, goods shortages, high external dependency and weak economic growth, amongst other things. Venezuela has also been engulfed in crisis, with many people fleeing the country since 2015. Since Haiti’s president was assasinated in 2023, there has been disintegration in the country, fueled by political paralysis, economic meltdown and gang violence. And in Nicaragua, persistent problems include severe restrictions on freedom of expression, political discrimination, and stringent restrictions on abortion.
After entering into the U.S., asylum seekers often start their lives from scratch, seeking resources, and unfilled jobs to bounce back — all of which do not come without new challenges including delayed work permits, amongst other things. U.S. Labor Secretary Martin Walsh has said immigration is key to addressing the labor shortfall in the U.S., adding that slowing immigration threatens the economy, and there are jobs available right now but not enough people to fill them.
The states in the lawsuit are asking a judge in the Southern District of Texas, Victoria Division, to “declare unlawful” and “set aside” the humanitarian parole program.
While the states are against this parole program for the four countries, an identical program was used — without legal action against it — to allow people from Ukraine (fleeing the Russo-Ukrainian war) and Afghan (following the 2021 Kabul airlift) to enter into the U.S.
This will be the first major lawsuit against a Biden administration parole program, and it is likely to be assigned to Trump-appointed Judge Drew Tipton, who receives all civil cases filed in the Victoria Division. Read the full lawsuit here.
This summary about the future of humanitarian parole for immigrants was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.
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