Biden’s use of the parole system

The Biden Administration has reverted to using the “parole” system to manage some migrant flows into the United States.  As of this summer, some half million persons have entered the U.S. legally through parole.  Given as Biden’s use of the system includes private sponsorships of immigrants on a temporary basis, these initiatives present a major political commitment to in effect partly privatize the acceptance of immigrants from problem countries.

Here is a recent posting by me on the parole method of temporary entrance into the country. for a Congressional Research Service backgrounder on the system, go here. It is used primarily as a form of targeted humanitarian admission.  Parole has been used the past in 1956, for refugees from the Hungarian Revolution, for Cuban refugees in 1960, for the Mariel boatlift in 1980s. There is no notable use of parole for persons already in the U.S.

Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans, to reduce encounters at the Mexican border (160,000 as of mid summer 2023)

It started in October 2022, then expanded in January 2023, a parole program for admission of these persons.  Since the start of the program. Up to 30,000 individuals per month from these countries who have a U.S.-based financial supporter, pass vetting and background checks, and meet other established criteria, may be eligible to come to the United States for a period of two years and receive work authorization.  160,000 citizens of these countries have entered the U.S. under this program (as of July 2023).  Mexican border encounters with these nationalities declined from a seven-day average of 3,453 encounters in mid-December 2022 to a seven-day average of 394 at the end of June 2023. Here is a DHS summary of the program. Here is a defense of the program.

CBP One App Program (130,000): introduced in January, 2023 for the Mexican border, this app based system is for anyone who qualifies for asylum; those accepted are put into parole status awaiting asylum review (which can legally happen only when a person is in the U.S.) (Go here.) This was introduced to reduce pressure on the border.

To admit Afghans after the withdrawal (77,000): In the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden Administration introduced a parole program for qualified Afghans (a type of parole program called port parole). Typical with the administrative failure of the withdrawal, between January 1, 2020 to April 6, 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the agency in charge of adjudicating humanitarian parole applications, received 44,785 applications where the applicant’s country of citizenship was Afghanistan, and only approved 114 of those applications, or less than 0.3%. (Go here.)

Ukraine (140,000): Here is what I wrote on 4/21/22: “the Biden administration implemented today United For Ukraine, an innovative approach to rapid refugee intake – authorizing households to directly accept Ukrainian refugees, bypassing the conventional channel of central intake and then assignment to one of the many resettlement organizations in the United States. In effect it is a private sponsor-based program, though it might not be formally stated as such.

This is a potentially explosive change in refugee acceptance. Enormous pressure will be put on Washington to expand a privatized refugee system to many comers. For instance, there are today in the United States about 5,000 Banyamulenges from the Democratic Republic of Congo. These people are under threat of genocide. We can expect that many of these people here will privately sponsor their relatives and others for refugee status.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *