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Judge rules America’s doors must stay open for asylum seekers

Allowing millions of migrants into the US is a federal decision, a Texas judge has ruled.

Allowing millions of migrants into the US is a federal decision, a Texas judge has ruled. Photo: Getty

A US judge in Texas has ruled against Republican-led states seeking to stop a Biden administration program that allows undocumented migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to enter the United States.

US District Court Judge Drew Tipton in Victoria, Texas, said the 21 states led by Texas lacked standing to pursue the 2023 lawsuit because they could not show that the program, which allows up to 30,000 people per month to enter the US, caused them any injury.

Some 234,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans had entered the US through the program as of November 2023, according to US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statistics.

To qualify, migrants must have a US sponsor and enter the country by air.

Tipton in his ruling on Friday noted the number of people illegally entering the US from the four countries since the program was implemented had dramatically decreased by as much as 44 per cent.

The judge did not address the merits of the lawsuit, which claims that DHS lacked the authority to adopt the program.

The US Department of Justice and the office of Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat seeking another term in the November 5 presidential election, has sought to expand legal pathways to the US to discourage would-be migrants from crossing the US-Mexico border illegally.

Republicans, including Biden’s likely opponent, former President Donald Trump, have said the so-called “parole” programs go beyond the scope of what is allowable by law.

Record numbers of migrants have been caught crossing the US-Mexico border illegally during Biden’s presidency.

Republicans say Biden should have kept Trump’s more restrictive policies while Biden has argued that Republicans have refused to provide adequate border funding and pass legislation that would toughen enforcement.

The states argued in their lawsuit that the US government’s authority to use parole is “exceptionally limited” and can only be applied on a case-by-case basis.

They claimed they faced irreparable harm because arriving migrants increase the cost of public services, including policing and emergency medical care.

Tipton, a Trump appointee, said in his ruling that the program was having the opposite effect.

“The court has before it a case in which plaintiffs claim that they have been injured by a program that has actually lowered their out-of-pocket costs,” he wrote.

-AAP

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