In a Home Depot parking lot near San Diego, California, last month, five Haitian men were waiting for under-the-table work at six in the morning. Three hours later, the group numbered about 25. Migrant men hanging around a Home Depot is a common sight, but why would these guys from Haiti—from thousands of miles away in the Caribbean—be in El Cajon, California, minutes from the Pacific Ocean?

The answer is President Joe Biden’s novel, brazen immigration “parole” programs.

I chatted with one of the Haitians—let’s call him Michel. He and his friends entered the U.S. under the mass immigration parole program Biden opened for Venezuelans in October 2022 and expanded to Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua in January 2023.

Under this parole program, up to 30,000 aliens a month—who would never qualify for a visa—can apply using a phone app operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, called CBP One. Once approved, they can fly into U.S. airports to apply for parole. This is a formality, since almost all of those allowed into the country using CBP One are given parole once they arrive in the U.S. Michel has been here two months but hasn’t applied for asylum yet; he said “maybe next month” he would.

I call Biden’s parole programs “McVisas,” because they have all the benefits of a visa but none of the costs or controls. No fee. No medical check. No background check in their home country or others they have lived in. Applicants do need a sponsor in the U.S., but that person can be a nonresident alien or even another parolee.

Michel told me he had been living in Chile for five years, but it was expensive, so he went to Mexico and used CBP One to enter the U.S. He and the other Haitians flew into San Diego because that was where their sponsors were. These sponsors committed to the U.S. government that they would support their parolees, yet here they all were looking for work off the books. And if they get injured or sick, who will care for them? Local hospitals, via the emergency room—or in California, the Medi-Cal program, which now lets illegal aliens of all ages apply for free health care at taxpayer expense.

There’s more to Biden’s parole-a-palooza than the program for Venezuelans, Cuban, Haitians, and Nicaraguans. Thousands more “CBP One appointments are available to noncitizens located in Central and Northern Mexico to schedule a date and time to present at one of eight POEs [ports of entry] on the southern border,” CBP’s website says.

“CBP One is available to all noncitizens without documents sufficient for lawful admission into the United States to schedule an appointment” (emphasis is mine). This means the entire world is eligible to apply, as long as they get to Mexico first.

The Haitians I met, and hundreds of thousands like them, have been allowed to exploit a program that should never have existed in the first place and is rife with loopholes. For one, there are reports of aliens using things called virtual private networks on the internet to mask where they are located to fool CBP One into thinking they are in Mexico. Also, alien-smuggling gangs have figured out how to monetize Biden’s parole programs by charging applicants up to $5,000 for a fake sponsor.

Even sponsors whom the parole applicants know will never be asked to pay anything if their parolees turn out to be deadbeats. Nor are they in any trouble if they sponsor criminals—like Cory Alvarez, a 26-year-old Haitian charged in March with raping a 15-year-old disabled girl in a Massachusetts Comfort Inn used as a migrant shelter.

Alvarez entered the U.S. in June 2023 under the parole program. Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey said that “it is unfortunate, from time-to-time things will happen.” (By “things,” she means rape). Healey said Alvarez “came in lawfully … through a federal program,” but she did not explain why Alvarez wasn’t staying with the sponsor who vouched for him.

Then there’s a man from Venezuela who was recently arrested at his (free) housing shelter in New York for “being very violent toward everybody,” according to police. If he was a recipient of parole, why was he not living with his sponsor?

The worst-case scenarios are those like Haitian Kenol Baptiste, recently arrested in New York state and accused of murdering his two roommates. According to Fox News, Baptiste used CBP One to book an appointment and was paroled into the U.S. at El Paso, Texas, in July 2023. Maybe rather than fleeing government oppression, which he would have to prove to qualify for asylum in the U.S., Baptiste was an oppressing soldier or policeman himself or has a criminal record in Haiti. There’s no way to tell, because the “vigorous” background checks the Department of Homeland Security says it does are only checking U.S. data, not Haiti’s.

According to CBP’s latest update, the Border Patrol encountered 137,480 people entering the U.S. illegally along the southwest border in March 2024, but there were 189,372 encounters when they added in all the CBP One appointments. CBP One is an accounting trick by which the Biden administration allowed another 52,000 inadmissible aliens in last month alone.

So far, it looks like at least 800,000 aliens have been paroled into the U.S. since Biden took office in January 2021, many using CBP One. Roughly 420,000 from more than 100 countries came in by land ports of entry, and another 400,000 flew into U.S. airports under the parole program.

The program says it wants applicants to “come to the United States in a safe, orderly, and lawful way.” DHS likes to use the word “lawful” to describe its parole programs, not “legal,” because that elides the fact that Congress never intended parole to be used for entire countries, and that the law expressly forbids the government from using parole to shortcut the U.S.’s official refugee program.

In 2023, Biden expanded his parole-a-palooza to include people from Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as additional people from Cuba and Haiti, who are waiting in line for visas to join relatives in the U.S. All beneficiaries of immigrant visas are required to wait outside the U.S. until their visa is ready, but nationals of these favored countries can now jump ahead of people from other countries who’ve been waiting many years. This “family reunification parole” program makes as much sense as opening a special bar so kids aged 18 can drink for three years until they turn 21.

By using parole without express congressional authority to create unfair “McVisa” programs with no real background checks, no legitimate path to legal residency, and no enforceable demands placed on the aliens or their sponsors, Biden is dumping a huge social and financial burden on American taxpayers.

The scale of his arrogation of power is unprecedented. Congress needs to assert its authority and restore sanity to our immigration system while it still can.

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.

Read Other BorderLine Columns:

My Look Inside Biden’s Illegal Immigrant Catch-and-Release Craziness

What I Saw on My Latest Visit to the Border

You Can’t Fool All of the People All of the Time About Immigration

Haiti: Here We Go Again

How ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Are Costing American Lives