By Bethany Blankley [The Center Square contributor] –
Seven Republican U.S. senators, led by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and joined by Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn introduced a joint resolution to condemn a federal policy created by the Biden administration through a federal agency rule-making process called the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways Rule.
They did so as the Biden administration has held fast to its plan to facilitate the migration of and release into the U.S. of as many people as possible from all over the world. Biden spoke of the plan in January, which was devised in cooperation with other world leaders and publicly announced two years ago.
The rule created additional ways to funnel foreign nationals “into unlawful parole programs that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has set up without Congress’ consent,” the senators said in a joint statement. It went into effect May 11, the same day the public health authority Title 42 ended.
Joining Cornyn are Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Ted Budd of North Carolina, Steve Daines of Montana and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Missouri.
“The Biden administration’s rule is an unserious attempt at resolving the border crisis and is full of loopholes that the cartels will easily exploit to continue moving unlawful migrants into the United States and overwhelm our Border Patrol,” Cornyn said. “Rather than stop unlawful migration, President Biden is using this rule to funnel the migrants into unlawful parole programs, and this resolution would put an end to this shell game to hide an unprecedented level of illegal immigration.”
Among other things, the rule created a new parole program to allow up to 30,000 citizens each from Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua,\ and Cuba to enter the U.S., or an additional 120,000 every month.
The parole program has since expanded to include citizens of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
At the same time, the administration announced it was coordinating with the governments of Mexico, Canada, Spain, Colombia and Guatemala to expand entry to the U.S. “through a combination of expanded lawful pathways.”
Through the rule, DHS also launched the new CBP One mobile app, which a federal court in California just held is illegal. The administration has instructed foreign nationals to use the app to make appointments at CBP processing centers at land ports of entry before they arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Once they apply through the app, they arrive at their appointment, undergo a background check, and are released into the U.S., with some exceptions. They are given court dates to meet with an immigration official three to four years in the future. They are also given work authorization papers to begin working in the U.S. while they wait years for a court hearing to determine if they are allowed to legally remain in the U.S.
DHS and the State Department also opened processing centers in other countries for the first time in U.S. history, beginning in Columbia, Guatemala and Mexico. Citizens of these countries use the app to make appointments with an immigration specialist to help expedite their application before they ever leave for the U.S.
To facilitate the expanded parole program, DHS allocated $15 million to a new Case Management Pilot Program to provide voluntary case management and other services to noncitizens to increase compliance with court dates and accelerate processing times to help them stay in the U.S.
The rule allows foreign nationals to claim asylum at any place or time even after they’ve been denied asylum in a different country prior to their arrival in the U.S., the senators point out.
“The first two of these three pathways constitute an abuse of the DHS Secretary’s parole authority,” they said, “which under our immigration law is only to be used on a true case-by-case basis.”
The rule, which is full of loopholes and easily exploitable, they argue, “is not a serious attempt at resolving the crisis on the southern border, and it does nothing to deter migrants from unlawfully migrating to the U.S.”
While deterring migration to the U.S. may be the goal of the senators, it is not the stated goal of the Biden administration. At a summit in Mexico City on Jan. 10, Biden said, “We’re trying to make it easier for people to get here, opening up the capacity to get here.”
In his remarks in January, Biden said he’d previously agreed with world leaders to facilitate more people coming to the U.S. at a North American Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2021. The agreement, which has the support of 21 countries, was formalized in the 2022 Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.
About the Author: Bethany Blankley is a writer at the Center Square, Patheos/Hedgerow, political analyst and former press secretary at Capitol Hill / NY / WDC. Follow Bethany on Twitter @BethanyBlankley.