Biden Has Paroled In Two Million-Plus Inadmissible Aliens

One every 28 seconds in FY 2023 — an alternative immigration system premised on the narrowest of authorities

By Andrew R. Arthur on June 21, 2024

DHS has publicly released a report captioned “Parole Requests” it sent to Congress back in December. It‘s only current through the end of last June but skip the boilerplate and go to a chart on page 10 that shows that in the first ninth months of FY 2023, DHS paroled in nearly 870,000 facially inadmissible aliens with no legal right to be here — one roughly every 28 seconds. That brings total Biden paroles to about two million, all under a restrictive authority Congress decreed be used only on a “case-by-case basis”. Did I mention they can all get work permits and Social Security numbers? If this sounds like a completely separate immigration system, divorced from the one Congress created, you’re right.

Congress’ Authority Over Immigration, and the Executive’s Limited Parole Power. The Center has explained the many flaws in Biden’s various parole schemes ad nauseam, but to understand why nearly all these releases violate the law, it’s important to go to the language of the parole statute itself, section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

It states, in pertinent part, that the DHS secretary may: “in his discretion parole into the United States temporarily under such conditions as he may prescribe only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit any alien applying for admission to the United States” (emphasis added).

Parole is a “legal fiction”, because as the statute also explains, aliens allowed to “enter” on parole are treated as if they never left the port of entry. Accordingly, after the purpose of that parole is satisfied, they must be returned to DHS custody and treated as if they were seeking admission at the port.

Which brings me to the restrictions on parole in the highlighted portion of the excerpt above. Parole has been in the INA since it was passed in 1952, and various administrations have abused that authority to permit the entry of entire classes of aliens over and above the restrictions Congress has placed on the admission of aliens elsewhere in the INA.

If any principle is truly clear in nearly 500 years of Anglo-American law, it’s that Congress alone gets to call the shots on which foreign nationals are allowed to come to this country and which must leave.

That’s no overstatement; here’s how the Supreme Court has described Congress’ immigration authority:

Policies pertaining to the entry of aliens and their right to remain here are peculiarly concerned with the political conduct of government. In the enforcement of these policies, the Executive Branch of the Government must respect the procedural safeguards of due process. But that the formulation of these policies is entrusted exclusively to Congress has become about as firmly imbedded in the legislative and judicial tissues of our body politic as any aspect of our government. [Emphasis added.]

With that in mind, next consider that Congress got fed up with administrative abuses of the executive’s already limited parole authority in 1996 and tightened those restrictions even more, in two key ways.

First, it barred the executive branch of authority to parole aliens as a class, instead allowing it to do so only on that “case-by-case basis” that appears in statute.

Second, it struck the then-bases for issuing parole (“for emergent reasons or for reasons deemed strictly in the public interest”) and substituted in their place the “for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit” standard that now appears in section 212(d)(5)(A).

Congress didn’t stop there in 1996. It also mandated the detention of not only aliens seeking admission at the ports (which has been the rule since 1903), but also aliens entering illegally, without inspection.

Biden’s Paroles. The Biden administration has shown little regard for any of what I’ve described above: the detention mandates for inadmissible aliens (again, now including illegal entrants), Congress’ tight restrictions on parole, and especially the legislative branch’s “exclusive” authority to formulate policies on who gets in.

Not only has the current administration clawed away at those “legislative and judicial tissues of our body politic” restricting purely executive immigration actions, but it’s also torn through most of the sinews and tendons and gone right for the viscera and into the marrow.

It started by paroling in illegal migrants apprehended by Border Patrol agents at the Southwest border — despite the fact that Congress requires them to be detained — before moving to parole Afghans the U.S. government brought (higgledy-piggledy) to this country following the disastrous pull-out from Kabul, and Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of that country.

Congress largely acquiesced after the fact to parole of the latter two groups, but it has never blessed the border releases. The problem — from the administration’s perspective and from a border- and national-security viewpoint as well — is that so many illegal migrants came illegally, were paroled, and de facto resettled here that it has encouraged greater numbers of aliens from even more far-flung countries to follow.

I hardly need to explain the border- and national-security vulnerabilities, but it doesn’t matter because the political headaches the border surge has created for an incumbent president seeking reelection drove what the administration did next.

In January 2023, to hide the surge in illegal migrants coming illegally each month — in particular from specific countries — the administration started opening what it referred to as “Legal Pathways for Safe, Orderly, and Humane Migration”.

Two of those pathways bear particular notice. The first is “CHNV Parole”, a program under which up to 30,000 nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are allowed to apply for parole from abroad per month and then fly to interior U.S. airports in the United States, allegedly in lieu of entering illegally.

As CBP announced in mid-May: “Through the end of April 2024, 434,800 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans arrived lawfully on commercial flights and were granted parole under CHNV.

Notice I didn’t say above that nationals of those four countries had to apply from within those four countries to be granted CHNV parole.

That’s because as my colleague Todd Bensman has revealed, CHNV parolees are flying in (and putatively applying for CHNV) from 77 different nations, including countries as diverse as Fiji and Iceland, Australia and Egypt, for benefits under the program.

Those aliens aren’t seeking protection from hostile home governments; they’re “trading up” for better economic opportunities, which in the case of the Cuban and Haitian parolees includes a full panoply of social-welfare benefits like Medicaid and food stamps — all of which you, the taxpayer, are providing.

Thus, there is no “significant public benefit” or “urgent humanitarian reason” justifying their paroles, which facially violates Congress’ statutory limitations in section 212(d)(5)(A) of the INA.

The Biden administration wasn’t finished, though, also crafting yet another plan out of whole cloth that allows would-be illegal migrants in central and northern Mexico to preschedule unauthorized entries at the Southwest border ports of entry using the CBP One app.

I’ve dubbed this program the “CBP One app interview scheme”, and the number of available slots has risen from 1,000 appointments per day in May 2023, to 1,250, and then to 1,450 by June 30, 2023. Keep that latter date in mind, because it was the end of the reporting period for the DHS parole report.

Between January 2023 (when that scheme was announced) and the end of April, more than 591,000 inadmissible aliens had scheduled appointments using the app. Congressional disclosures in October revealed that 95.8 percent of those aliens were subsequently paroled into the United States.

But wait — there’s more, because last July the Biden administration started allowing inadmissible aliens from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with approved family-based visa applications (that are not yet currently available because of annual numerical caps that Congress enacted) to also seek parole into the United States, a program it then extended to Ecuadorans in October.

Most recently, of course, the administration is rolling out another program, this one “parole in place” (PIP) for illegal alien spouses of U.S. citizens who’ve been here for at least 10 years (as of the completely arbitrary date of June 17, 2024), as well as their children (who had to have arrived as of that date).

DHS estimates PIP will benefit up to another 550,000 inadmissible aliens. I’ve recently detailed a few of the issues with the program, but let’s just say that if you’re in the fraudulent document trade, your business will be expanding soon.

“Parole Requests, Fiscal Year 2023, Second and Third Quarter”. The preceding sets the stage for the DHS report I referenced at the outset, formally captioned “Parole Requests, Fiscal Year 2023, Second and Third Quarter”. As the name suggests, it captures just a portion of Biden’s parole total, during a nine-month period from October 2022 to the end of June 2023.

In that period, DHS issued parole to an incomprehensible number of inadmissible aliens — 869,337 in total — more people than there are residents in four U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

The total includes 304,136 illegal entrants paroled by Border Patrol agents (285,639 in the first quarter alone) and 66,573 others who were paroled by ICE out of its custody (all of whom were transferred by Border Patrol agents and CBP officers at the ports for detention, but who plainly weren’t detained long).

The majority, 498,628, were paroled by CBP officers in the agency’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the ports of entry, both in the interior (at airports) and at the border.

Those OFO port paroles include: 23,112 Nicaraguans; 35,990 Cubans; 50,430 Venezuelans; and 51,430 Haitians, the majority of whom likely came under CHNV; 77,359 Ukrainians; 24,726 others simply paroled at ports of entry; and 226,996 who were issued Notices to Appear (“NTAs”, the charging documents in removal proceedings) and likely released under the CBP One app interview scheme.

For purpose of this analysis, I will exclude the 4,724 “advance paroles” issued by OFO during this period (which are an entirely different issue). That brings the OFO port parole total for the first three quarters of FY 2023 to 493,904 and total DHS paroles in the first nine months of last fiscal year to 864,613.

There are about 394,200 minutes in any nine-month period, which means that DHS agents, officers, and adjudicators made one “case-by-case” parole determination every 28 seconds during that period.

2,062,441 Biden Parolees. For the first two years of the Biden administration, I was the go-to guy for many in the media and on Capitol Hill for border release statistics, because I was one of the few with the fortitude to plow through the many and scattered public documents (many only released by the administration under threat of judicial sanction) that detailed those releases.

In that vein, in July 2023, I added up the total number of Biden paroles premised on statistics reported by CBS News and official statistics, and came to an estimated total of “1.437 million-plus” paroles. It was only an estimate, because there were a lot of statistics Biden’s DHS refused to release — in particular OFO Southwest border paroles.

In a surprising move, however, DHS’s Office of Homeland Security Statistics (OHSS) started publishing its “Immigration Enforcement and Legal Processes Monthly Tables” in January. Those tables offer a delayed view (it’s only current to the end of February) of OFO paroles, and only then at the Southwest border.

You must still plow through Excel spreadsheets and do some math, but here’s what I can tell you.

In the last quarter of FY 2023, OFO paroled in an additional 137,550 inadmissible aliens at the Southwest border, and then 233,040 more in the first five months of FY 2024 (October 2023 to February).

Going back in time, you can add to that total 24,040 OFO Southwest border paroles between February 2021 (Biden’s first full month in office) and September 2021 (the last month in FY 2021).

In the next fiscal year, according to CBP’s parole report for FY 2022, the agency paroled 178,465 aliens at the ports of entry (more than half of whom — 92,630 according to OHSS data — were waved through by OFO at the Southwest border), as well as 63,529 Ukrainian nationals paroled on “humanitarian” grounds and 22,842 Afghan nationals who came in under “Operation Allies Refuge/Welcome”.

And while I’m nearly finished, I’m really just getting started, because I must add 378,232 illegal entrants apprehended by Border Patrol at the Southwest border in FY 2022 under its (now judicially enjoined, because it was illegal) “Parole+ATD” program, which boosts the total to 1,902,311 CBP paroles of inadmissible aliens under the Biden administration.

And, according to OHSS, ICE paroled 34,990 CBP transferees between February 2021 and the end of FY 2021, 79,770 more in FY 2022, and an additional 45,370 inadmissible aliens between the last three months of FY 2023 and the first five months of FY 2024 (which ended on February 29), which brings us to 2,062,441.

Lest you think that this gob-smacking total is just one pundit’s opinion, consider the fact that on June 18, Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee — people who have access to many more border statistics than any think-tank — tweeted the following:

That tweet sent me back to review the official stats, and if anything, it’s an understatement.

Compare to Lawful Congressional Immigration Limits. That’s because the OHSS statistics I cited above are only current through the end of February; with up to 30,000 CHNV paroles per month, and 1,450 CBP One app interviewees per day (133,400 for the 92 days between March 1 and May 31), the actual total as of the end of last month is likely closer to 2.2 million.

Compare that to the number of aliens who enter legally each year under the immigration limits Congress has set in the INA.

In the two fiscal years before Biden took office (FY 2019 and FY 2020), according to DHS, 1,739,127 aliens became lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”; that is, they received “green cards”): 1,031,765 in FY 2019 and 707,362 in (the Covid-pandemic-impacted) FY 2021.

In reality, though, just 721,871 of those LPRs were “new arrivals”; the rest were already here in some other status and received their green cards through adjustment.

Not much has changed since Biden came in. DHS reports that 740,002 aliens received green cards in FY 2021, and 1,018,349 others in FY 2022. Again, however, just fewer than 693,000 of the new LPRs in that two-year period were also “new arrivals”; the remaining 1,065,427 were already here.

The FY 2023 LPR statistics haven’t been released yet, but I can assure you that fewer LPRs came in with new green cards last year than the 864,613 inadmissible aliens whom Biden’s DHS paroled in just the first nine months of that fiscal year.

It may be “firmly imbedded in the legislative and judicial tissues of our body politic” that Congress gets to decide how many new aliens can come here, but the Biden administration doesn’t care. It’s running its own alternative immigration program using its extremely narrow parole power — completely divorced from congressional limits, and thus from the say of the American people.