Biden Administration Adds Ecuador to List of Illegal Parole Programs
FAIR Take | October 2023
Last Wednesday, the Biden Administration announced a new “family reunification parole” (FRP) program for qualifying nationals from Ecuador. The new parole expansion would allow thousands more foreign nationals to enter the United States without a visa, obtain work authorization, and access taxpayer-funded benefits ahead of those waiting in line for green cards outside the country.
According to DHS, the new process is meant to advance the Biden Administration’s “strategy to combine expanded lawful pathways and strengthened enforcement to reduce irregular migration.” The new program seeks to build off the June 2022 Los Angeles Declaration, in which the U.S. and other Western Hemisphere countries agreed that family reunification and legalization programs “promote safer and more orderly migration.”
Under the new family reunification process, certain nationals from Ecuador and their immediate family members are eligible for parole if they have family members in the United States who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who file sponsorship paperwork on their behalf. When the sponsorship paperwork is approved, the parolees are granted a three-year stay and employment authorization in the United States while they wait to apply for lawful permanent residency.
As FAIR has previously stated, family-based parole is anything but lawful. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212 (d)(5)(A), aliens may only be paroled into the United States temporarily “on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.” A parole program that allows aliens from different countries to enter by the thousands for three years at a time is certainly not abiding by clear statutory requirements to parole each alien on a case-by-case basis for a temporary period of time.
Moreover, through the creation of family-based parole programs, the Biden Administration is illegally expanding the family immigration program Congress created by allowing hundreds of thousands of nationals to cut in line. Family-based preference green cards have strict numerical caps (both individual numerical caps and per-country caps), which result in thousands of applicants waiting in line for years outside the country before being admitted. Family reunification programs unlawfully circumvent the laws set in place by Congress to create government-sanctioned illegal immigration, offering the equivalent of a green card to nationals from certain countries in an expedited manner.
With hundreds of thousands of nationals from Cuba, Haiti, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras already entering via Family Reunification Parole Programs, the addition of Ecuador to the group will allow nationals from yet another country to enter the United States without a visa, obtain work permits, and access taxpayer-funded benefits using this unlawful parole program. In FY2023 so far, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has encountered over 100,000 Ecuadorians at the southern border, a massive increase from just over 24,000 encountered in FY2022. If this is any indication of how many Ecuadorian nationals are to be paroled into the country under the new family reunification processes, American communities will pay the price through heightened fiscal burdens and human costs.