Biden’s immigration policies could put huge population in limbo

President Joe Biden’s patchwork immigration policies are coming into focus, CNN reported.

The immigration policies allow hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, Afghans, Venezuelans, and others to stay in the U.S. but could leave them in legal jeopardy in the near future.

Biden has made unprecedented use of a discretionary immigration tool called parole to respond to migration crises. The protection comes for many with an ominous two-year expiration date.

More than 700,000 migrants and asylum seekers have been permitted entry into the U.S. over the past two years at the discretion of Homeland Security officials through various forms of parole. 

Facing a surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and on the heels of a crisis in the summer of 2021, White House and Department of Homeland Security officials began discussing more restrictive policies that would keep migrants from coming to the U.S.

It came just months after a surge of unaccompanied migrant children caught the administration flat-footed and put into sharp focus the immigration challenges ahead for Biden.

Nearly two years later, the administration announced immigration policies like the one floated among officials before, fielding fierce criticism from allies who argued the effort had echoes of the Trump era and crystallizing the shift in Biden’s approach to the border, a political vulnerability going into the 2024 presidential election.

The short-term fix allows people to enter the country, but parolees have to opt into a complicated legal process if they intend to stay legally.

Overlapping global crises and Congress’s decades-long failure to pass reforms to a broken, backlogged immigration system would have hampered any administration’s ability to respond.

But some experts describe Biden’s extensive reliance on parole as “unprecedented” and as an inadequate long-term solution.

Parole leaves immigrants vulnerable to future administrations with the power to end protections as well as set priorities for ICE arrests.

More than 200,000 Afghans, Ukrainians, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Haitians have arrived through more formal humanitarian parole processes. These processes include work authorization and the possibility of support from U.S. sponsors.

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