The Biden administration has allowed an unprecedented roughly 500,000 migrants to come to the U.S. via the expansion of entry programs, CBS News reported Tuesday.
At least 541,000 migrants lacking visas have been granted entry into the country in less than two years through the use of what’s known as parole, according to CBS News, which cited internal government statistics, court records and public reports. The use of parole authority has been part of the Biden administration’s plan to address the surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.(RELATED: Top Biden Immigration Official Called To ‘Abolish ICE, End Detention Of Illegal Immigrants)
Parole is used to grant temporary entry to those in need of humanitarian relief or deemed to be a “significant public benefit,” according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
“At this scale, in this time period, it is unprecedented,” Doris Meissner, a top U.S. immigration official during the Reagan and Clinton administrations, said of the expansion of parole under Biden, according to CBS News.
The Biden administration has granted parole to 168,400 Latin American and Caribbean migrants with U.S. sponsors, 141,200 Ukrainian refugees sponsored by Americans, 133,000 migrants seeking asylum screened at ports of entry at the southern border, 77,000 Afghan evacuees and 22,000 Ukrainians at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to CBS News.
The White House began allowing Afghans to come via parole after evacuating tens of thousands fleeing the looming Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021.
In April 2022, the Biden administration then started “Uniting for Ukraine” to allow Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion to enter the U.S. for a period of two years with a sponsor, according to USCIS. This came after they were paroled via the southern border after flying to Mexico, according to CBS News.
The Biden administration then formed a parole program for Venezuelans in October 2022, followed by Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans to address a surge of illegal immigrants coming from those countries to the southern border.
Republican states subsequently sued over the aforementioned program, arguing DHS is operating “under the false pretense of preventing aliens from unlawfully crossing the border between the ports of entry.”
The Biden administration later began the use of CBP One to allow migrants to enter the country using a phone application to book entry appointments at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, a program that has since been expanded to allow roughly 40,000 entries per month.
“It’s fair to say that the pressures are much greater now, which is why the numerical scope of these parole programs is probably the largest we’ve seen, certainly in a long time,” León Rodríguez, who served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during President Barack Obama’s second term, said, according to CBS News.
The Biden administration is expected to continue to increasingly use parole authority and to expand its programs to allow migrants from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras with relatives in the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
DHS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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