Mar 9, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Judge rejects GOP attempt to block Biden’s migrant "parole" program

President Joe Biden walks across the South Lawn before boarding the Marine One presidential helicopter

President Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to stop the Biden administration's migration program that has granted hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans legal entry into the U.S.

Why it matters: It is an important win for President Biden and his signature border effort — and a loss for Texas and other GOP-led states challenging his use of a mechanism called "parole" to expand legal pathways into the U.S.

  • "The Court finds that Plaintiffs have not proven that Texas has suffered an injury and therefore do not have standing to maintain this suit," U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton wrote in the Friday ruling, dismissing the lawsuit.

Zoom in: The parole program allows as many as 30,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to enter the U.S. by plane each month.

  • They are vetted and required to have sponsors in the U.S. Through humanitarian parole, they are provided protection from deportation and work permits for two years.

Between the lines: The program has been a critical part of the administration's carrot-and-stick approach to border enforcement over the past year as it has grappled with historic levels of migration to the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • In January 2023, Biden rolled out harsher penalties for migrants who illegally cross the border, while offering new legal pathways including through an app and the parole program.
  • The number of Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans illegally crossing the border plummeted after the policy was implemented.

What they're saying: "It is a key element of our efforts to address the unprecedented level of migration throughout our hemisphere, and other countries around the world see it as a model to tackle the challenge of increased irregular migration," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

  • Republican states — led by Texas — have argued that the administration exceeded its authority by using humanitarian parole so broadly.

Go deeper: Biden targeting illegal border crossings

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