The Biden administration said Wednesday that the new border measures, which were expanded earlier this month, were already having an effect in helping reduce the record number of migrants encountered in December, a day after a 20-state lawsuit claimed that the program is illegal.
The administration has expanded a humanitarian parole program first introduced for Venezuelans in October to include Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians. The program allows up to 30,000 immigrants to fly each month, as long as they have not entered the US or Mexico illegally, have a US sponsor and pass background checks. It is combined with an expansion of Title 42 expulsions to include those nationalities.
The moves were in response to a significant increase in gatherings from those nations along with a massive increase in migration that has dogged the Biden administration since it took office. In December, there were more than 251,000 migrant encounters, marking a new highest month that surpassed even the busiest month of fiscal 2022, which overall saw a record 2.3 million encounters.
But in a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said that since then, initial numbers for January show a 97% drop in encounters of those four nationalities, and January is on track to see the lowest number of border encounters since beginning of the crisis. in February 2021.
TEXAS LEADS 20 GOP STATES IN SUING BIDEN ADMINISTRATOR OVER MIGRANT PAROLE PROGRAM
The agency said gatherings from the four countries dropped from an average of 3,367 a day in December to just 115 a day in January, touting the numbers as proof the measures were working.
The numbers were released a day after 20 red states sued the administration over the program, claiming it is illegal.
“These expanded border control measures are working,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “It is incomprehensible that some states that will benefit from these highly effective enforcement measures are trying to block them and cause more irregular migration at our southern border.”
That lawsuit, brought by Texas and America First Legal in the Southern District of Texas, and joined by 19 additional states, argues that the program is illegal given the “exceptionally limited” probation power available to the federal government. The lawsuit focuses on limits imposed on parole by Congress that say the authority must be used “on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit,” a standard states say the program does not meet.
“The parole program established by the Department fails to meet each of the three limiting factors of the law. It is not case-by-case, it is not for urgent humanitarian reasons, and it does not advance any significant public benefit. Instead, it amounts to the creation of a new visa program that allows hundreds of thousands of aliens to enter the United States who otherwise would have no basis to do so. This ignores, rather than follows, clear limits imposed by Congress,” the lawsuit says. .
MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A MILLION MIGRANTS ARE HERE IN DECEMBER ALONE
The states say the program is also illegal since it failed to engage in the notice and comment regulation required by the Administrative Procedure Act, and that the states “face substantial and irreparable harm from the Department’s abuse of its probation authority.” , potentially allowing hundreds of thousands of additional aliens to enter each of their already overwhelmed territories.”
WHITE HOUSE FIRES GOP OVER CALL TO FUND TEXAS BORDER SECURITY EFFORTS
“Every state in the United States, especially border states like Texas, are being crushed by the impacts of illegal immigration,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Biden’s open borders agenda has created a humanitarian crisis that is increasing crime and violence on our streets, overwhelming local communities, and worsening the opioid crisis. This illegal amnesty program, which will invite hundreds of thousands of aliens into the United States every year, will only make this immigration crisis dramatically worse.”
But the administration has been pushing back against criticism of its handling of the southern border by Republicans in Congress and elsewhere, including pointing to the refusal of Republican lawmakers to back a sweeping immigration bill and other funding requests. of the administration.
President Biden on Friday accused Republicans of trying to use immigration to score “political points,” and an administration official echoed that on Wednesday, condemning the lawsuit against the parole program.
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“This lawsuit shows once again that extremist elected officials don’t want real solutions; they’d rather continue to use immigration to try to score political points. They keep claiming we need to secure the border, but then they turn around and try to block almost every move they take.” we take to do just that,” the official said.
“They have blocked comprehensive immigration reform and funding for border security, and now they are trying to block a program that has dramatically reduced the number of migrants trying to enter the country illegally, while providing a safe, legal and orderly pathway. for the migration of people fleeing communism or economic collapse,” the official said. “If these states succeed, their latest stunt will lead to more illegal immigration.”