While the D.C. press was preoccupied (obsessed really) with the House Speaker's race, the White House decided it was time to roll out a new immigration policy ahead of a scheduled visit by President Biden to the border at El Paso. The plan is called New Border Enforcement Actions. As one might guess at this point into the Biden Administration, there isn't any real enforcement in the plan. It is a scheme to process and release illegal aliens into the United States while simultaneously pretending to crack down on certain illegal border crossers.
The Biden-Harris plan is to:
- "Increasingly subject" individuals who illegally cross the U.S. border to expedited removal;
- Expand the parole program currently used for Venezuelans to admit up to 30,000 people a month from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua. These are people who have no legal basis to enter the United States;
- Triple "refugee" admissions from Latin American and the Caribbean;
- Set up a "CBP One mobile application" so that those who would otherwise seek to cross the U.S. border illegally can make an appointment so that they can be processed into the U.S. without a valid visa!
Adding insult to injury, the Biden Administration is touting this as a major step toward curtailing illegal immigration, but an alien without a valid visa still has no legal right to enter the U.S. at a port of entry, even if they make an appointment with CBP using the new app. And, as Andrew Arthur at the Center for Immigration Studies points out, it's a farce to pretend that expedited removal is somehow a "new consequence." It is "an authority...that Biden's always had...But one that he's hardly ever used."
Does anyone really believe the Biden Administration will suddenly start expelling illegal border crossers under this new policy? Nothing the President or DHS Secretary Mayorkas have said or done since January 2021 gives any objective observer reason to believe that.
Yesterday when talking about these new policies, DHS Sec. Mayorkas said that the agency has "built lawful pathways and expanded them." Obviously, DHS does not have this authority, but that hasn't stopped them in the past. The fact that Mayorkas has gotten away with flagrantly flouting the law has emboldened him to go even further.
The main problem with the new plan (there are many) is that Congress created parole in 1952 to be used for very narrow purposes. As George Fishman, who has extensive experience working on immigration law and policy in the executive and legislative branches, points out in an excellent op-ed in the New York Post, parole allows the chief executive to admit 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." In order to prevent presidents from abusing this authority, Congress clarified in 1996 that parole can only be used 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.
Pres. Biden's abuse of parole also extended to his claims that he had the authority to use it to bring Venezuelans into the U.S. outside of the process established under law. Thursday's announcement expands this misuse of parole by applying it to three more countries. The administration is not using it on a case-by-case basis but on the basis of national origin in direct violation of Congressional statute.
Now that the Republicans have sorted out who will be the next Speaker of the House, how they proceed in holding Sec. Mayorkas and the Biden Administration to account for disastrous border policies and lack of enforcement will show how true is their commitment to securing the border and combating illegal immigration.
ERIC RUARK is the Director of Research for NumbersUSA
Updated: Sat, Jan 7th 2023 @ 12:52pm EST