NEWS

Court Upholds Expanded Parole Program for Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela

A US federal court upheld the Biden Administration’s parole program for nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela by dismissing a lawsuit brought by a coalition of 21 states against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Texas, et al. v. DHS, et al. The lawsuit challenged the legality of the Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela (CHNV) Parole Program, a program designed to create a safe and orderly pathway for certain nationals from those countries to enter the United States.

The Biden administration sees the program as a success, providing a safe and legal pathway for asylum seekers while deterring them from dangerous border crossings. Over 357,000 people have been approved so far, with Haitians being the largest beneficiary group. Applicants must have a U.S. sponsor and undergo vetting before being paroled for up to two years with a potential work permit.

This ruling aligns with the administration’s broader immigration strategy of separating border enforcement from asylum pathways. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, however, argued the program amounts to an unlawful amnesty and will worsen the border crisis.

Lawsuit Dismissed for Lack of Harm to State

The lawsuit, led by the State of Texas, challenged the CHNV Parole Program’s legality and its potential strain on state resources. However, the court ultimately dismissed the case on grounds of standing. In legal terms, standing requires a party to demonstrate a concrete injury resulting from the challenged action. The court found that the states, and particularly Texas, failed to meet this threshold.

The state’s arguments centered on potential future harms, such as increased illegal immigration and a burden on social services. The court, however, deemed these potential harms speculative and insufficient to establish standing.

The court’s dismissal was “without prejudice,” allowing the states to re-file the lawsuit if they can demonstrate a more concrete injury attributable to the CHNV Parole Program.

Background: The CHNV Parole Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established the CHNV Parole Program to provide a safe and orderly alternative for certain individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela seeking entry into the United States. The program aims to deter dangerous or irregular migration attempts at the border while offering a legal pathway for those who qualify.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the CHNV Parole Program the parolee beneficiary must meet the following requirements:

 

  • The beneficiary is a national of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, or Venezuela or an immediate family member (spouse, common-law partner, and unmarried child under 21);
  • A U.S.-based supporter (see below) meets financial capability requirements and can demonstrably support the beneficiary throughout the parole period;
  • The beneficiary passes security and background vetting;
  • The beneficiary possesses a valid passport; and
  • The beneficiary has satisfied current public health requirements, including vaccination requirements.

Supporter Qualifications

  • Lawful Status in the US
    • US citizens and nationals;
    • Lawful permanent residents, lawful temporary residents, and conditional permanent residents;
    • Nonimmigrants in lawful status, who maintain their nonimmigrant status and have not violated terms and conditions of their nonimmigrant status;
    • Asylees, refugees, and parolees;
    • Individuals granted Temporary Protected Status; or
    • Beneficiaries of deferred action, including deferred action for childhood arrivals or DED.
  • Background Checks: Favorable outcome on security and background checks to ensure public safety and prevent exploitation; and
  • Financial Capability: Demonstrating sufficient financial resources to support the intended applicant.

Benefits

  • Approved individuals receive parole status, allowing them to live and work legally in the United States.
  • They can apply for work authorization (EAD) to secure employment opportunities.

Selection Process

  • USCIS aims to approve up to 30,000 individuals monthly.
  • In May 2023, a new review process was introduced with a random selection of about half of the monthly total requests, regardless of filing date, from the entire pending workload to review. The other half of the requests for the monthly total will be reviewed based on the first-in and first-out method, prioritizing the oldest requests first.

Important Considerations

  • Beneficiaries cannot apply directly; a U.S. supporter must initiate the process on their behalf.
  • Individuals who are already permanent residents or dual nationals of another country are ineligible.
  • Individuals who have recently crossed the U.S. border without inspection or have been removed from the U.S. are ineligible for this program.
  • Beneficiaries are responsible for funding their own commercial airfare to the designated U.S. airport.

For more information about the Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans Program, please contact Attorney Monique Kornfeld or visit https://www.uscis.gov/CHNV.