Biden policy allowing migrants to enter U.S. challenged by states

Trump rally in Texas
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks ahead of a rally held by former U.S. President Donald Trump, in Robstown, Texas, U.S., October 22, 2022. REUTERS/Go Nakamura
  • 20 states say new program violates federal immigration law
  • Program would allow 360,000 people to enter U.S. each year
  • Plan aimed at deterring illegal border crossings

(Reuters) - A coalition of 20 Republican-led states filed a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to shut down a new Biden administration program that would allow up to 360,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua to enter the United States each year.

Led by the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the states filed a complaint in Victoria, Texas federal court claiming the program announced earlier this month violates stringent criteria established by federal immigration law for allowing individuals into the United States who would otherwise not be eligible for entry, known as paroling.

Federal law allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to offer parole on a case-by-case basis, and only for humanitarian reasons or public benefit, according to the complaint. But the new program unlawfully allows individuals who do not meet that bar to receive the benefit, the states said.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The lawsuit was assigned to U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, an appointee of President Donald Trump who has blocked other key immigration policies adopted by President Joe Biden's administration.

Biden, a Democrat, announced earlier this month that DHS would expand Trump-era efforts to rapidly expel Cuban, Nicaraguan, Venezuelan and Haitian migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

But Biden said up to 30,000 people from those countries would now be allowed to enter the U.S. by air each month.

The plan is part of a broader effort to deter record numbers of border crossers and address the political and humanitarian challenge of mass migration that has dogged Biden since he took office in 2021.

Paxton, a Republican, in a statement said the Biden administration's immigration policies had created a humanitarian crisis that has overwhelmed states and local communities.

“This unlawful amnesty program, which will invite hundreds of thousands of aliens into the U.S. every year, will only make this immigration crisis drastically worse," Paxton said.

Florida, Ohio, Louisiana and Missouri are among the states that joined the lawsuit. America First Legal, a conservative group founded by former top Trump aide Stephen Miller, is also involved in the case.

The case is Texas v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. District Court the Southern District of Texas, No. 6:23-cv-00007.

For the states: Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz; Gene Hamilton of America First Legal Foundation

For DHS: Not available

Read more:

Facing pressure over border crossings, Biden steps up migrant expulsions

U.S. plans to expand border expulsions for Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians

U.S. Supreme Court mulls Biden immigration enforcement shift

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Dan Wiessner (@danwiessner) reports on labor and employment and immigration law, including litigation and policy making. He can be reached at