November 20, 2023
IRLI shows an administration parole program lifts Congress’s restrictions
WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a brief in a case challenging the Biden administration’s Central American Minors (CAM) program, in which families separated by the illegal immigration of their members are reunited on American soil by granting them “legal” status.
The “legal” status handed out automatically to a large class of illegal aliens in the program is called “parole.” But, as IRLI shows in its brief, Congress deliberately restricted parole in 1996 so that it could only be granted on a case-by-case basis to individuals, and not given to classes of aliens programmatically, as is done under CAM.
The CAM program’s abuse of parole has several consequences. One is that CAM does not actually provide legal status, because the parole handed out is unlawful. Another is that CAM is contrary to law, and so should be vacated under the Administrative Procedure Act.
Yet another consequence, IRLI shows, is that CAM is unconstitutional. Under the Constitution, administrations have to follow the laws passed by Congress. If they suspend the laws for a large, defined class of people—simply dispensing with the law as applied to them—they fail in their constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. In CAM, the administration simply waived the law’s restrictions on parole for the many beneficiaries of the program.
“When members of families choose to split up by breaking our immigration laws, those laws do not preclude their reunification, but neither do they give them legal status so they can be reunited here, instead of abroad,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “There could be no greater incentive for illegal immigration—including the dangerous illegal migration of children—than a law like that. The administration breaks our constitutional order when it suspends this necessary policy choice the law has made in favor of its own goals. We hope the court sees the deep constitutional problem with this program, and rules against the administration.”
The case is Texas v. Biden, 3:22-cv-00780 (N.D. Tex.).
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