Dear Karen,

The dog days of summer are here, and as is typical, decisions from the federal courts have slowed (reasons tend to include: vacations, law clerk turnover, and time for briefing effects of the just-finished Supreme Court term). In fact, other than a decision to deny the Biden Administration’s request to transfer Texas’s challenge to $1.7 trillion in federal appropriations given the State’s blatant judge shopping, there have been no significant decisions recently in the cases we track; nor have any new cases been filed. So in this newsletter, we’re previewing the upcoming bench trial in Texas’s lawsuit over a centerpiece of the Administration’s immigration policy: the parole programs for nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuelans (“CHNV”).

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August 11, 2023

Trial over CHNV parole: What’s at stake, why Texas should lose, and when to expect a decision

The CHNV parole programs permit U.S.-based individuals to apply to sponsor someone from one of those four countries for a two-year period of “parole” (temporary permission for a noncitizen to live in the United States); up to 30,000 individuals a month (from the four countries combined) can be granted parole. Sponsors must show they are able to financially support the parolees, and they commit to doing so for the parole period. Notwithstanding this significant commitment, more than 1.5 million sponsor applications were submitted in just the first few months of the program, with sponsors seeking to reunify families, to help someone escape danger, and to live out their religious values (among other reasons).

The parole statute has existed since 1952, and since then Administrations of both parties have frequently used parole in ways that are indistinguishable from the CHNV programs (which is one significant way we know they are lawful, as Congress has never acted to stop parole programs of this nature, and has refused to do so several times). 

Notwithstanding the clear statutory authority, long history of similar programs, its own complaints about the border, and its lack of standing, Texas sued the federal government to stop the CHNV programs. In addition to claiming the parole statute does not authorize the programs, Texas alleges they did not go through the required procedures (even though virtually no use of parole has ever gone through those procedures). Shortly after suit was filed, seven U.S.-citizen sponsors—represented by the Justice Action CenterRAICES, and the UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policysuccessfully intervened to defend the programs and the #FreedomToWelcome, alongside the federal government.

The case is set for a two-day bench trial before Judge Tipton (whom Texas chose to hear the case) starting on August 24 in Victoria, Texas (it will also be livestreamed to Houston courthouse, but nowhere else, unfortunately), and post-trial briefs are due at the end of September. A decision theoretically could come anytime thereafter, although typically it takes a month or two for an opinion to be issued, and often longer. 

As always, we’ll keep you posted on this and other cases. See our social media toolkit for how you can show your support for the CHNV programs, and please also consider a tax-deductible donation to financially support JAC and its defense of this lifesaving program!

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As always, we’ll keep you posted on these and other cases.

Thanks for reading,

Tasha Moro

Communications Director

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