5 Nov 2015

The Obama administration has been exploiting immigration parole to enable large groups of foreign nationals to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely, Republican Senate Judiciary Committee members charge.

Parole authority generally enables the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant temporary admission to the U.S. on a “case-by-case” basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.” The Obama administration, however, has been using the parole authority to grant large swaths of immigrant groups access to the U.S. for untold amounts of time.

In a letter to DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) express their concerns with what they say is the administration’s abuse of its immigration parole authority.

[I]t is disturbing that the Administration has expanded the use of parole and ignored the Congressional intent on the use of this authority,” the trio write. “Indeed, with each parole program implemented by this Administration, further damage is caused to the Constitutional authority of the United States Congress to establish a uniform set of immigration laws.

In some circumstances, they write, the administration’s creation of entire parole programs have served to “effectively create entirely new visa categories.”

Of particular concern for Grassley, Sessions, and Lee say the administration approach “clearly violates the prohibition on using parole ‘to circumvent Congressionally-established immigration policy’ or ‘to admit aliens who do not qualify for admission under established legal immigration categories.’”

Those six programs include the Parole for Filipino Caregivers of Elderly Family Members, Parole for Entrepreneurs, Parole for Central American Minors, Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, Advance Parole for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients, and Parole for Russian and Chinese Tourists to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

Specifically, the senators charge:

- In the case of proposed parole programs, such as the one for Filipino caregivers, that allow persons who are the beneficiaries of immigrant petitions, but may be years away from receiving an immigrant visa, to enter the country and work, those persons are not only effectively skipping to the head of the immigrant visa line, but skipping the line entirely.

– The parole programs, such as the program for entrepreneurs, specifically designed to bring foreign workers into the country, circumvent the visa programs that Congress has established as the exclusive means to bring foreign workers into the country.[21]

– The Russian and Chinese tourist parole programs in Guam and the CNMI circumvent the regime Congress established expressly for visa-free travel to Guam and the CNMI, the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program (VWP).[22]

– The parole program for Central American Minors unquestionably circumvents the refugee program established by Congress by granting parole – the extensions of which will surely never be limited – to any alien in the target class who is unsuccessful in obtaining refugee status. It also permits a potentially unlimited number of aliens into the country who do not qualify for admission under any of the established legal immigration categories.

Given, their enumerated concerns Grassley, Sessions, and Lee request additional information about the programs and call on the administration to assure that it will stop implementing or eve discontinue the parole programs “instead of continuing to encroach upon a Constitutional power expressly reserved for the United States Congress.”