AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

Biden Administration Expands Legal Pathways with Parole Strategy but Deeply Erodes U.S. Commitment to Asylum Protection

1/5/23 AILA Doc. No. 23010504. Admissions & Border, Asylum

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) responded to the announcement from President Biden today expanding Title 42 and humanitarian parole programs for migrants from Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti. The program is modeled after the Venezuela Parole Program announced in October and provides a legal pathway for some migrants from these three countries, provided they fulfill the program’s requirements, including having a U.S. sponsor. However, the announcement includes several measures that severely restrict asylum access including expansion of the Title 42 ban on asylum seekers from these countries at the border and a new version of the third-country transit ban on asylum seekers will be forthcoming in a proposed rule.

AILA President Jeremy McKinney stated, “This announcement expands the creative use of legal pathways, such as parole, to manage increased migration at the Southern U.S. border from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti. However, the unavoidable truth is that the Biden Administration is greatly eroding the United States’ commitment to protecting asylum seekers by the continued use of the Title 42 ban. Moreover, the administration indicated a new proposed rule that sounds like another Trump policy, the transit ban, which will block asylum by requiring people to first apply in countries that they traveled through. The new parole program should be implemented in addition to access to asylum at the southern border and not erode access to asylum.”

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, “The expansion of parole is an important legal pathway authorized by Congress that President Biden is smart to utilize. However, this positive step is clouded by the administration’s expansion of Title 42, the transit ban, and expedited removal. These measures will inevitably deny legitimate asylum seekers access to a fair and meaningful opportunity to seek protection from persecution. AILA supports efforts to manage border migration efficiently and in an orderly manner, but speed can never be allowed to overtake fairness or humane treatment. Furthermore, these efforts are made in vain if the infrastructure and capacity needed to carry them out are lacking. Only Congress can provide the resources necessary to ensure that access to asylum is equitable and not just available to a small number of those who seek it.