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Texas judge rules in favor of Biden migrant parole program

A federal judge ruled Friday that a new program allowing up to 30,000 would-be asylum-seekers from four countries to enter the U.S. via airports each month can continue, handing a blow to Republican officials in Texas who sued to block the initiative.

The lawsuit centers on the administration’s use of parole under immigration law to grant entry to migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, who otherwise would likely not qualify for entry visas.

U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton, in his decision, said Texas — and 19 other states — were unable to prove that they’ve suffered financial harm as a result of the program and thus “they lack standing to bring these claims.”

“As far as [the Department of Homeland Security] is concerned, the Program has been a tremendous success,” the order reads.

In their complaint, the states argued that the DHS created a new visa program — without legislation from Congress — under the “false pretense of preventing aliens from unlawfully crossing the border between ports of entry.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took it a step further, claiming in a statement that “every state in America” had been “crushed” by the impacts of illegal immigration. In one example, Texas argued in its lawsuit that the program harmed the state because immigrants approved under the program qualify for state services such as health care and public education. It’s one of over two dozen lawsuits that Texas has filed since January 2021 seeking to reverse the Biden administration’s immigration policy.

“The Biden open borders agenda has created a humanitarian crisis that is increasing crime and violence in our streets, overwhelming local communities, and worsening the opioid crisis,” he said. “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.”

The lawsuit came as the Biden administration is seeking to separate border and immigration issues from each other — creating avenues for asylum-seekers to bypass the border while cracking down on migrants who cross into the U.S. without authorization.

The White House commended Tipton’s decision in a statement.

“The district court’s decision is based on the success of this program, which has expanded lawful pathways for nationals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela who have a sponsor in this country and pass our rigorous vetting process, while dramatically decreasing the number of nationals from those countries crossing our Southwest Border,” White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said, per The Associated Press.

Since the program’s launch in 2022, more than 357,000 people have been granted parole. The biggest group, according to the AP, have been Haitians.

Migrants apply online, arrive at an airport with a financial sponsor in the U.S., and if approved, they can stay for up to two years if they obtain a work permit, AP reported.

The Hill reached out to Paxton’s office for comment.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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