Texas federal judge dismisses Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Biden’s immigration program

A federal judge in Texas rejected a lawsuit on Friday filed by Attorney General Ken Paxton against a Biden administration immigration program that allows each year up to 360,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to legally migrate to the U.S.

U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump administration appointee in Victoria, wrote in his ruling that Paxton’s office “have not proven that Texas has suffered an injury and therefore do not have standing to maintain this suit.”

Tipton, who has previously ruled against the Biden administration in other immigration-related lawsuits, wrote in his opinion that he “does not address the lawfulness of the program” rather that Texas has not “established that it has standing” to sue.

Paxton — whose office led a coalition of 20 other states — filed the lawsuit in January 2023, against the Biden administration shortly after it announced the program.

Texas argued in its lawsuit that the program harmed the state because immigrants approved under the program qualify for state services such as health care and public education. It’s one of over two dozen lawsuits that Texas has filed since January 2021 seeking to reverse the Biden administration's immigration policy.

In court filings, lawyers representing the Biden administration said the program encourages would-be migrants to use a lawful way to enter the U.S. rather than crossing the border illegally. They also argued that Congress has given the executive branch the authority to implement such a program.

As of January — a year since the program was first announced over 357,000 people have been accepted into the program. According to the lawsuit, 13,990 applicants who were accepted listed Texas as their destination. More than 2,600 were children.

With a historically high number of people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela — many of them crossing illegally — the Biden administration created the parole program to provide a safe and legal way for them to enter the U.S.

In order to be approved for the program, people need to apply from their home countries, pass a background check and prove they have a financial supporter in the U.S. If they’re approved, they can stay in the country for up to two years and get a work permit. Once in the country, they would be able to request asylum if they choose to, or return home after the two years.

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