Biden’s Humanitarian Parole Program Threatened by Legal Challenge

by | Aug 30, 2023 | Immigration Explained

A flagship Biden Administration immigration policy, offering temporary legal status to individuals from Latin America and the Caribbean, faces a court battle, with a group of Republican-leaning states contesting the policy’s legality.

Introduced in January, the humanitarian parole program permits up to 30,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to enter the U.S. on a monthly basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or substantial public benefit, subject to individual assessment. Those admitted can stay for up to two years, adhering to an online application process, financial sponsorship, and background checks.

Approximately 160,000 individuals have already entered under this program by June, according to the Biden administration. The program has been challenged by 21 Republican-leaning states, arguing that President Biden has essentially established a new visa program without Congress’ legislative proceedings.

The legal arguments and defenses are set to be heard by District Judge Drew Tipton in Texas, a Trump appointee. The judge previously allowed seven U.S. citizens who are either sponsors or applicants under the program to join the proceedings to defend it. These citizens are represented by immigrant rights groups.

One sponsor, Eric Sype, highlights the importance of the program, sharing his story of supporting a Nicaraguan man whose family has faced challenges due to political unrest and natural disasters. Sype believes that ending the program would be a disservice, as it offers a positive light in an otherwise broken immigration system.

The humanitarian parole initiative forms part of the Biden administration’s strategy to expand legal immigration options for those fleeing instability. While the challenge pertains specifically to the Latin American and Caribbean program, the administration’s broader efforts have also been praised for contributing to a decrease in border crossings.

As the legal battle unfolds, the program’s defenders emphasize its merits, citing real-life cases where it has enabled necessary medical procedures and offered a lifeline to vulnerable individuals. Critics of the policy contend that it exceeds the government’s authority and may strain state resources.