President Biden’s latest immigration scheme disregards the rule of law and Congress, which specifically enacted legislation to prevent what he’s trying to do.
The historical record is crystal clear. In 1952, Congress gave the executive the statutory power to temporarily “parole” aliens into the United States “in emergency cases, such as the case of an alien who requires immediate medical attention” or “a witness or for purposes of prosecution.”
Starting in 1956, presidents of both parties (with the notable exception of former President Donald Trump) have used the parole power to do an end run around the immigration laws to import many thousands of otherwise inadmissible aliens, often because they considered them “refugees.”
Letter of the law
Congress did not sit idly by. In 1980 it created the modern refugee system precisely to rein in presidential abuses by setting up a structured refugee process with precise criteria — including a requirement that aliens have themselves suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution.
Yet further egregious abuses followed, including then-President Bill Clinton’s agreement with Cuba to (mis)use the parole power to bring in up to 20,000 Cubans a year outside the immigration laws.
So Congress in 1996 specified that a president can parole aliens only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
Presidents since have ignored the rules, with Biden driving the perversion of the parole power to new lows. Most famously, he used it to release into our communities hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens apprehended at the border, aliens who are actually subject to mandatory detention under federal law.
But that is just for starters.
Biden has used “parole” to fulfill his agenda of converting as many prospective economic migrants around the world into “asylum-seekers” supposedly fleeing persecution or violence or harm of one sort or another.
Until Thursday, his administration was doing so under the guise of relative secrecy for Mexicans and Central Americans. But Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House both issued Orwellian press releases announcing new “border enforcement measures to improve border security” and “create additional safe and orderly processes” for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans “fleeing humanitarian crises.”
Essentially, Biden plans to parole up to 30,000 a month to reside and work legally in America — or 360,000 a year. We well know that the aliens are never going to return home.
Of course, these numbers are subject to change. And, of course, they will be “rigorous[ly]” vetted — just like Biden’s Afghan parolees were rigorously vetted until it turns out they weren’t.
Biden’s parole scheme conveys huge benefits to him. If aliens enter the United States on parole, they won’t be apprehended and won’t be counted in the Biden administration’s now massive border numbers. In fact, Biden will be able to crow about bringing the border under “control,” simply by pretending the border doesn’t exist.
The administration claims these aliens are “fleeing humanitarian crises.” Well, why then doesn’t it admit them as refugees? Because it well knows that they wouldn’t qualify — they simply don’t fear persecution.
What they really fear are low wages and scarce job opportunities in their home or adopted countries. What they may fear is gangs or generalized violence at home (even though, ironically, many will end up in gang-infested US cities). But these are not and have never been grounds for refugee status. Under such criteria, I would dare say billions of people around the world would qualify.
We can only hope that aggrieved states will sue the Biden administration and persuade federal courts to put a halt to this unlawful scheme. And we can only hope the Supreme Court will finally issue a ruling putting an end to the rampant abuse of parole.
George Fishman is senior legal fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.