The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that migrant crossings at the U.S./Mexico border have plummeted since the administration implemented the new parole program that a slate of Republican states have now sued to end.
Officials said that since the January implementation of policy allowing migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to apply for U.S. sponsorship, preliminary numbers for the month are set to be the lowest in two years. “Encounters with individuals from these countries dropped from a 7-day average of 3,367 per day on December 11, to a seven-day average of just 115 on January 24,” DHS said.
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”While migrant arrivals along the U.S. southern border have historically dipped in January due to a holiday season lull and colder temperatures, the drop over the past few weeks has been most pronounced among migrants from countries whose citizens are subject to the new procedures, government statistics show,” CBS News said.
Under the program, parole has been expanded to tens of thousands of migrants from the regions per month. Applicants must show they have a U.S. sponsor, and must arrive to the U.S. by air. Advocates celebrated the expansion of legal avenues to migrate, but restrictive measures tied to the announcement—namely the broadening of the debunked Title 42 policy and a proposal resembling the previous administrations’ unlawful transit ban—were slammed by the United Nations and others.
The parole program itself is modeled after a governmental effort that has allowed more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to enter the U.S. Yet GOP states led by indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have sued to block only Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan migrants from this expanded parole. You know why.
In a statement, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called it “incomprehensible” that Republican states are suing to block the parole expansion, noting regions like Texas “stand to benefit from these highly effective enforcement measures.” He said the GOP effort stands to “cause more irregular migration at our southern border” should it succeed in the courts. Texas leads noted border states (sarcasm) including Alabama, Alaska—Alaska? Really?—Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
American Immigration Council Policy Director Aaron Reichlin-Melnick noted that in Alaska’s case, it’s suing on supposed ground that “illegal aliens” are hurting Alaska. Undocumented immigrants make up just 1% of the state’s population, according to the American Immigration Council. That’s roughly 5,000 people. The GOP’s legal claim “should be sanctionable,” he noted. “Won't be.”
You’d think that Republicans would be supportive of these recent border measures. They claim they support legal immigration. Well, there you have it, in the form of an expanded parole program. They also love their harsh enforcement measures. They got those too, in the form of the Title 42 expansion, a Trump-era policy they’ve fought to keep alive through the courts. Instead, the Jim Jordan-chaired Judiciary Committee hearing this week focused on promoting the lie that the fentanyl crisis is tied to immigration, while Jordan himself claimed that the president is intentionally sparking the so-called border crisis claimed by Republicans.
That’s actual white nationalist conspiracy theory being pushed by the chair of a powerful House committee, folks. But don’t count on House Republicans removing him from his post and the committee entirely the way they just removed a Muslim woman of color.
Republicans sue now that Biden is extending humanitarian parole to Black and brown migrants
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Listen to this episode of The Downballot for an in-depth analysis of the 2024 Arizona Senate race and the implications of Kyrsten Sinema's re-election decision. Special guest Victoria McGroary, the Executive Director of BOLD PAC, will also discuss the efforts to prevent losses among Hispanic voters and the fight against disinformation in Spanish language media.