The Look in Brief
Tennessee attorney general challenges Biden program allowing asylum seekers path to U.S.
Haitian father carries his children across the Rio Grande into Del Rio, Texas In 2021. Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is challenging a Biden Administration program that provides a legal pathway to citizenship to asylum seekers from Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. (Photo: Getty Images)
Tennessee on Tuesday joined 19 other GOP-led states in challenging a new Biden Administration program that provides some asylum seekers from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela a legal path to entering the U.S.
The parole program, announced last month, would give up to 30,000 people per month a chance to legally enter the U.S. if they apply from their home countries, demonstrate they have a financially responsible U.S. sponsor and can pass a background check.
For decades, conservative rhetoric and talking points have focused on the legality of migration—yet, when a pathway for safe and lawful migration is presented, they immediately jump at the opportunity to shut it down.
– Judity Clerjeune, Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition
Attorneys for the states, led by Texas, contend the program is an illegal overreach by the executive branch.
“It’s a fundamental principle of American life that the government must follow the law. The administration’s actions are not consistent with our country’s immigration laws,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said in a news release, which contended that the president’s power to grant parole to immigrants is limited to individual instances and on humanitarian grounds.
Parole allows an individual, who may not otherwise be eligible for entry, to be allowed into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or for a “significant public benefit,” according to U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services.
Judith Clerjeune, campaigns and advocacy director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said when similar pathways opened to migrants fleeing Ukraine, “state and federal governments, including conservative leaders, stepped up to create an environment of welcome.”
“For decades, conservative rhetoric and talking points have focused on the legality of migration—yet, when a pathway for safe and lawful migration is presented, they immediately jump at the opportunity to shut it down,” Clerjeune said.
“It’s clear that their attacks on migration are purely fueled by racism and white supremacy. It is shameful that Attorney General Skrmetti would join forces with the likes of Stephen Miller.”
Miller, a former Trump advisor, is now president of America First Legal, which is assisting the states in their challenge.
Other states joining suit are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
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