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Judge rejects Texas lawsuit against immigration policy central to Biden’s border strategy

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A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Republican officials in Texas aimed at terminating a federal program pivotal to the Biden administration’s immigration agenda, preserving the initiative for the time being.

The contentious issue revolved around a Biden administration policy permitting hundreds of thousands of migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to travel to U.S. airports each month, facilitated by American financial sponsors. These individuals were granted two-year work permits under a humanitarian parole, a measure employed by President Biden on an unprecedented scale.

The program, introduced in January 2023, was designed to dissuade potential migrants from these crisis-affected countries from undertaking perilous journeys to the U.S.-Mexico border and entering the country unlawfully. It was implemented alongside a bilateral agreement with Mexico, stipulating the acceptance of migrants from the aforementioned nations who illegally crossed into the U.S.

Texas contended that the program circumvented Congress-set limits on legal immigration and contravened the intended scope of parole authority, which, it argued, should be sparingly utilized. However, U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton ruled that Texas lacked the legal standing to challenge the policy, citing a failure to demonstrate tangible harm inflicted by the program. While dismissing the case, Judge Tipton refrained from ruling on the legality of the federal initiative.

According to internal Department of Homeland Security data obtained by CBS News as of February 8, over 365,000 individuals from the designated countries have availed themselves of the sponsorship program under the Biden administration. Notably, representatives for Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, vocal critics of President Biden’s immigration policies, refrained from immediate comment, indicating a potential appeal of Tipton’s decision.

The survival of the sponsorship program represents a significant legal triumph for the Biden administration, which has sought to amalgamate legal migration pathways with stricter asylum regulations to manage the unprecedented surge in migrant crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas hailed the initiative as a model for addressing irregular migration challenges globally, while the White House celebrated the court’s decision, highlighting the program’s success in expanding lawful pathways and curbing illegal border crossings.

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