Joe Biden’s Immigration Plan Was Supposed to Be a Compromise—Republicans Are Suing Him Anyway

Despite announcing what some saw as a centrist plan to address America’s ongoing immigration crisis, Joe Biden doesn’t seem to have won points on either side of the aisle. The president—who sparked progressive backlash this month over new policies aimed at expelling more migrants and opening more avenues for asylum-seekers—is now facing a lawsuit from a group of 20 Republican-led states arguing that his new agenda constitutes flagrant government overreach.

The suit, filed by the Texas attorney general’s office Tuesday, urges a federal court to strike down the administration’s program that would grant temporary asylum to 30,000 approved migrants per month—a quota counterbalanced by Mexico’s promise to accept 30,000 unauthorized migrants from the US every month . The states—which include Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and Texas—specifically argue that the Department of Homeland Security lacks the authority to develop a policy that “amounts to the creation of a new visa program.”

“The Plaintiff States…face substantial, irreparable harms from the Department’s abuses of its parole authority, which allow potentially hundreds of thousands of additional aliens to enter each of their already overwhelmed territories,” reads the lawsuit. Citing claims that the parole program would—among other things—place undue stress on their healthcare and education systems, the plaintiffs claim that the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas “should enjoin, declare unlawful, and set aside the Department’s lawless parole program.” In a statement of his own, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton further accused the president of enacting an “open-borders agenda [that] has created a humanitarian crisis that is increasing crime and violence in our streets, overwhelming local communities, and worsening the opioid crisis.”

Over the past two years, the White House has been barraged by a steady stream of immigration-related lawsuits from Republican-led states, including challenges to Biden’s efforts at lifting the green card and asylum strictures put in place by his immediate predecessor, Donald Trump. Republican attorneys general went to the Supreme Court last month to block the White House from lifting Title 42, a law that the Trump administration used to rapidly increase border expulsions by claiming that migrants posed a pandemic-related health risk. (Under Title 42, migrants are not afforded the right to appear before an immigration judge prior to expulsion.)

Ironically, even as the Biden administration prepares arguments in favor of lifting Title 42, the president’s new immigration agenda heavily relies on bolstering it—a contradiction that has drawn heavy criticism from immigration advocates and progressive lawmakers. “Expanding Title 42 is the wrong approach,” Vanessa Cárdenas, the executive director of the immigrant advocacy organization America’s Voice, told me last week. “The president actually ran on ending a lot of Trump’s policies, and yet his administration continues to expand them, which creates a credibility problem with this president and Democrats in general.”

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