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Absent Congressional Action, Biden Admits Many New Immigrants

Amid a stalemate in Congress over immigration, President Biden is allowing hundreds of thousands of new immigrants into the U.S., significantly expanding the use of humanitarian parole programs for people escaping war and political turmoil around the world, reports the New York Times. The measures to offer refuge to people fleeing Ukraine, Haiti and Latin America, offer immigrants the opportunity to fly to the U.S. and quickly secure work authorization if they have a private sponsor to take responsibility for them. As of mid-April, 300,000 Ukrainians had arrived in the U.S. under various programs — a number higher than all the people from around the world admitted through official U.S. refugee program in the last five years. By year's end, 360,000 Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians are expected to gain admission through a similar private sponsorship initiative introduced in January to stem unauthorized crossings at the southern border, more people than were issued immigrant visas from these countries in the last 15 years combined.

The administration has greatly expanded the number of people who are in the U.S. with what is known as temporary protected status, a program former President Trump tried to terminate. About 670,000 people from 16 countries have had their protections extended or become newly eligible since Biden took office, says the Pew Research Center. The temporary humanitarian programs could become the largest expansion of legal immigration in decades. “The longer Congress goes without legislating anything on immigration, the more the executive branch will do what it can within its own power based on the president’s principles,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown of the Bipartisan Policy Center. The challenge, she noted, is that “the courts can come in and say it’s outside the president’s authority, or an abuse of discretion, and take it all away.”

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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