The BorderLine is a weekly Daily Signal feature examining everything from the unprecedented illegal immigration crisis at the border to immigration’s impact on cities and states throughout the land. We will also shed light on other critical border-related issues like human trafficking, drug smuggling, terrorism, and more.
As the Biden Border Crisis rages on, the administration has made up its own bogus visa program to let hundreds of thousands of aliens illegally cross into the U.S. and remain indefinitely—as long as they have sponsors here willing to “support” them. Shockingly, those sponsors can include other illegal aliens.
In January, Texas and 19 other states sued the Department of Homeland Security complaining that:
DHS … under the false pretense of preventing aliens from unlawfully crossing the border between the ports of entry, has effectively created a new visa program—without the formalities of legislation from Congress—by announcing that it will permit up to 360,000 aliens annually from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela (CHNV) to be “paroled” into the United States for two years or longer and with eligibility for employment authorization.
“Parole” in immigration law gives the secretary of Homeland Security the authority to let foreigners enter the U.S. on a very temporary basis when they don’t have time to get a visa through the proper channels. Congress intended for parole to be very limited, such as when a foreign national’s testimony was crucial in an important trial.
The 20 states claim that the Biden administration’s mass parole of inadmissible aliens into the U.S. “fails each of the law’s three limiting factors” in that it is (1) not case-by-case, (2) not for urgent humanitarian reasons, and (3) advances no significant public benefit. The states specify their “substantial, irreparable harms” include millions of dollars in uncompensated education, health care, and social service costs.
To make its Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela parole program appear to be a less obvious drain on taxpayers, DHS requires an applying alien to have a sponsor in the U.S. who commits to providing financial and other support for the duration of the parole. Incredibly, sponsors can include not only U.S. citizens and permanent residents, but also asylees, refugees, people with Temporary Protected Status—and even other parolees!
Even more absurdly, it allows beneficiaries of “deferred action” or “deferred enforced departure”—aliens illegally here in the United States—to be sponsors. These temporary “deferred” categories are given to foreign nationals whom our government should be prosecuting for being here illegally or who have deportation orders that the Biden administration refuses to enforce.
Adding sponsorship to parole just puts unenforceable lipstick on a prime pig of a program. To match aspiring illegal immigrants—sorry, “parolees,” according to the administration—with willing sponsors, DHS has created an online portal called Welcome Connect.
The Welcome Connect home page allows only Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Ukrainians, and Venezuelans to participate, but more will likely come as the Biden administration diverts DHS from its legal purpose of protecting the border and managing legal immigration into being a service provider for illegal immigrants.
Welcome Connect resembles a dating website, matching parolees and sponsors—just check out this video that walks both aspiring parolees and sponsors through the process. Each is asked to put in various information, though none of it is verified.
A sample on the “Connections” page shows Jean, a 53-year-old married man in New York. He is willing to sponsor people (the drop-down menu goes up to “5+”) of all genders, but not pets. (Yes, the drop-down menu also allows parole applicants to list their pets, and—scandalously—sponsors can pick from “Only male” and “Only Female” as well as “All Genders.”)
In the example, Jean looks at a list of parole applicants and picks “Ana,” a 45-year-old “transgender” person. Ana or Jean can “request to connect” and begin negotiations. If things aren’t working out with Ana, Jean can flirt with up to five other applicants, who, in turn, can converse with up to seven sponsors.
The site advises applicants that sponsors cannot “require money … threaten to harm you … or require that you work … or have sex with them.” Because the Biden administration wouldn’t want any illegal immigrants exploited, would they?
“What are a sponsor’s financial obligations?” is a frequently asked question and reasonable for a sponsor to ask before taking responsibility for a “family” of five or more adults, five or more children, and assorted pets. The answer is not precise: “There is no amount you must dedicate to sponsorship,” though “you and your group should plan to raise at least $3,000 for each person sponsored,” the site says.
Welcome Connect then advises that “sponsorship carries with it some basic financial responsibilities” and that sponsors will sign a Declaration of Financial Support form, in which they assure the U.S. government that, if needed, “you will support the beneficiaries you seek to sponsor for the duration of their parole.”
But if this sounds almost like an actual responsibility or even a commitment, sponsors needn’t worry—“the Declaration of Financial Support is not legally binding in most cases.” Even if it was, as I’ve written before, immigration support affidavits are worthless and never enforced.
And if this sponsorship process appears like a mockery of our immigration laws, it is—just like the parole program of which it is part.
Biden has taken parole—a small loophole in immigration law—and treated it like a Grand Canyon down which to send a river of bogus programs that mock congressional intent.
What we have now are two immigration systems: First, there is the legal, official, historical visa system, in which foreigners who want to come to the U.S. pay for a visa application, fill out comprehensive forms, have an interview with a U.S. consular officer in an embassy overseas, are vetted through U.S. databases for criminal histories or terrorist associations, certify that they are not carrying a transmissible disease and are not indigent, and supply genuine identification documents and biometrics. After all that, they either get a visa or fail to qualify, based on U.S. immigration law.
The second system is Biden’s parallel universe of parole programs, juiced up to levels even the most ardent immigration advocate would not have dreamt of a few years ago. Parole applicants aren’t required to pay any fees, produce genuine identity confirmation, complete an interview, prove physical health, or prove that they have the ability to support themselves to enter the United States.
Furthermore, their cases for seeking parole can utterly lack merit, but they will be admitted anyway and, if present processing times are any indication, will be able to stay indefinitely.
To top everything off and completely undermine the credibility of the programs, DHS “did not explain or analyze how they would remove from the United States aliens paroled through the program after the end of any period of authorized parole,” as Texas and the other states also complain in their lawsuit.
The reason for that is simple: Biden’s DHS doesn’t have a plan because they have no intention of removing anyone. These parole programs, which the Biden people call “lawful pathways,” are simply a brazen, unconstitutional usurpation of Congress’ prerogative to control immigration and instead open the border for unfettered migration.
The longer Congress lets them get away with it, the more harm is done to both the rule of law and the separation of powers in the United States.
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