Biden’s Abuse of Power at the Border

COMMENTARY Immigration

Biden’s Abuse of Power at the Border

Jan 11, 2023 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Simon Hankinson

Senior Research Fellow

Simon is a senior research fellow in the Border Security and Immigration Center at The Heritage Foundation.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers as he visits the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, on January 8, 2023. JIM WATSON / AFP / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Biden apparently believes he can use parole at will—to allow millions of foreigners to enter the U.S.—without consulting Congress at all.

Predictably, hundreds of thousands of people from countries near and far headed for the border, knowing they’d be let in regardless of the truth of their claims.

Congress can end this charade with legislation limiting the president’s parole power and mandating that aliens at the border be kept abroad.

Shortly before his trip to El Paso, President Joe Biden announced his plan to address the border crisis. Anyone still hoping—two years into Biden's term—that the president would outline an effective solution to the current flood of illegal aliens and drugs had to be disappointed.

Instead, Biden announced an expansion of "the successful Venezuela parole process." This will now include Nicaraguans, Haitians, and Cubans, who make up a significant percentage of those wading across the Rio Grande every day. Soon, the president said, "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 Immigration and Nationality Act gives the secretary of Homeland Security "discretion" to parole aliens into the United States temporarily "on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit." It explicitly adds that the secretary may not use this power for an alien who is a refugee unless there are "compelling reasons in the public interest" to do so. This is because we already have a U.S. Refugee Admission Program.

Parole was meant to be used sparingly. In most previous administrations, only a few hundred foreigners were approved each year after their applications were carefully reviewed. But Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has been paroling pretty much everyone who turns up at (or over) the border. Once an alien is paroled, DHS feeds federal money to compliant charities and advocacy groups to buy phones, provide social services, and transport them all over the country. Biden apparently believes he can use parole at will—to allow millions of foreigners to enter the U.S.—without consulting Congress at all.

>>> The Biden Border Crisis

Previous presidents have abused parole, but Biden is doing it on an industrial scale. He claims to be acting because Congress won’t, which is to say they won’t pass his immigration "reform" bill granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and thus encouraging millions more to enter illegally or overstay their visas. But when he came into office, Biden undid every program the Trump administration had successfully used to reduce illegal entries. Predictably, hundreds of thousands of people from countries near and far headed for the border, knowing they’d be let in regardless of the truth of their claims.

Biden has apparently persuaded Mexico to take back up to 30,000 immigrants per month who don’t qualify for the new program, but with over 200,000 foreigners attempting illegal entry plus 50,000 "gotaways" evading inspection every month, who will take the rest? And what happens to parolees who ask for asylum but don’t meet the standards of U.S. immigration law? With a mere 72,000 aliens deported last year, and ICE ordered to concentrate on those with criminal convictions, the chances of future failed asylum-seekers being sent south are very low. But that’s the point: Biden clearly has no intention of deporting more illegal immigrants, even if his own asylum officers or immigration courts order their departure.

Biden is using parole programs to create a parallel immigration system. In practice, it allows millions of people to cut ahead of family and employment applicants waiting in the legal immigration line for a visa. These queue-jumpers get rewarded with work authorization, public benefits, and no serious chance of ever being made to leave. Better still, they don’t pay a penny to apply, unlike petitioners for legal family visas whose fees are about to be hiked up to 50%.

Congress can end this charade with legislation limiting the president’s parole power and mandating that aliens at the border be kept abroad while any claims to protection or asylum are heard. This is the fair thing to do for communities and citizens suffering from the sea of illegal immigrants and illicit drugs unleashed by Biden’s open border policies.

This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner