Biden Administration to Let Tens of Thousands of Central Americans Cut in Line
Under the guise of family reunification, the Biden Administration has begun implementing a massive new categorical parole program for nationals from four Western hemisphere countries. The Administration originally announced the new program in April as it prepared to end Title 42, promoting it as a way to advance the Biden Administration’s goal of expanding “lawful pathways, and facilitate the safe, orderly, and humane processing of migrants.” This new parole program, however, is anything but lawful.
The new Family Reunification Parole (FRP) program is designed specifically for nationals from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. To be eligible, these nationals must have family members: (1) who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents living in the United States, and (2) who have filed the paperwork to sponsor them as permanent immigrants to the U.S.
If the sponsorship paperwork is approved, the Family Reunification Program allows the foreign national to skip the line and enter the U.S. That is, under the regular process, once family sponsorship is approved, a foreign national must wait in line (often for years) behind green card applicants from all over the world until it is his/her turn to receive a green card. Under the Family Reunification Parole Program, however, foreign nationals from these four countries will be invited to travel to the United States before they get their green cards. In fact, they will simply be paroled into the U.S. without any visa whatsoever.
The process to participate in the Family Reunification Parole Program is simple.
- The U.S. relative files a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative);
- Once approved, DHS will send an invitation to the foreign national with instructions on how to travel to the U.S.;
- The U.S. sponsor then files a Form I-134A (Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support) to submit additional information;
- The foreign national receives instructions on how to access the CBP One mobile application and submit information; and
- The foreign national receives approval to travel to the United States without a visa, then seeks entry through parole at an interior Port of Entry.
Once paroled into the United States, the alien is allowed to live and work for three years, at which point he or she can renew parole until his/her green card is available. It is virtually the same as getting a green card.
As it unveiled its plans to implement the parole program last week, the Administration stated the program is “intended to provide an additional lawful, safe, and orderly avenue for migration” and “an alternative to irregular migration to help relieve pressure at the Southwest Border (SWB) and reunite families, consistent with U.S. national security interests and foreign policy priorities.” However, this new program certainly violates the law in two important ways.
First, through the creation of this “Family Reunification Parole Program,” the Biden Administration is unilaterally and illegally expanding the family immigration program Congress created in order to suit its open-borders agenda. Under federal law, family-based green cards have strict numerical caps (both individual numerical caps and per-country caps) and applicants must wait in line, often for years, outside the country before being admitted to the U.S. as lawful permanent residents. President Biden’s program, however, simply pretends these laws don’t exist and uses parole to create the equivalent of a green card for nationals from “favored” countries. The Executive Branch does not have the power to do this. The Constitution explicitly places the plenary authority over immigration in the hands of Congress, a point the Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized.
Second, the Family Reunification Parole Program is based entirely on the violation of the parole statute. By statute, parole may only be used to allow an alien to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit” and must be granted only on a case-by-case basis. It is not intended to be used as the centerpiece of a program that allows tens of thousands of foreign nationals to enter the U.S. en masse for three years at a time, authorizing them to obtain work permits and taxpayer-funded benefits.
Aside from being illegal, the creation of such a program for a handful of favored states is discriminatory and unfair. Immigration laws should be neutrally written and uniformly administered across all nations. To give the nationals from selected states an express advantage or “leg up” undermines the legitimacy of our immigration system and the rule of law. It also subjects our immigration system to the whims of any Administration that may favor one country or another for political reasons.
Finally, the impact of the program could be huge. By the government’s own estimate, 70,000 foreign nationals would immediately be eligible for the Family Reunification Parole Program. As of late May, there were 17,400 Colombians, 32,600 Salvadorans, 12,800 Guatemalans, and 10,700 Hondurans waiting in the family line with approved sponsorships. That said, the program also allows eligible foreign nationals to bring their immediate relatives, meaning the ultimate number of aliens allowed into the U.S. under this program could be two to three times the number eligible.