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Idaho attorney general joins Texas immigration lawsuit against Biden administration

Capitol
Otto Kitsinger
/
The door to Attorney General Raul LabradorÕs office at the Idaho State Capitol building on January 6, 2023. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador announced his office joined a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s administration over the expansion of a parole program for Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Cubans, an action the administration took in early January.

The White House’s announcement said the program will provide a lawful and streamlined way for qualifying nationals of those countries to apply to come to the United States without having to make the dangerous journey to the border.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the release that the program would provide humanitarian relief while enforcing U.S. laws.

“Up to 30,000 individuals per month from these four countries, who have an eligible sponsor and pass vetting and background checks, can come to the United States for a period of two years and receive work authorization,” the White House said in a press release about the program. “Individuals who irregularly cross the Panama, Mexico or U.S. border after the date of this announcement will be ineligible for the parole process and will be subject to expulsion to Mexico, which will accept returns of 30,000 individuals per month from these four countries who fail to use these new pathways.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the lawsuit with 19 other states, including Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. The lawsuit contends the administration’s program is illegal and will cause irreparable harm to the 20 Republican-led states.

The lawsuit states the program was modeled after a similar effort to allow Ukrainian refugees to enter the United States after fleeing from an ongoing war with Russia, but the suit contends this version does not meet the same legal criteria.

“The parole program established by the department fails each of the law’s three limiting factors. It is not case-by-case, is not for urgent humanitarian reasons, and advances no significant public benefit,” the lawsuit says.

In the release, Labrador said federal law directs the secretary of Homeland Security to exercise discretionary authority and evaluate individual immigrants on a case-by-case basis.

“The Biden administration is now attempting to create a new federal program that goes way beyond case-by-case review and potentially grants status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. If this administration wants to amend federal immigration law, they need to ask Congress,” Labrador said in the release.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state.