President Joe Biden, stymied by congressional inaction, has signed an executive order that opens a back door for hundreds of thousands of migrants to enter the United States by the end of the year.
The measure, the New York Times unveiled, expands a previous policy granted to refugees fleeing Ukraine, Haiti, and parts of Latin America. Using the temporary protected status label, once sought for elimination by former President Donald Trump, the White House hopes to see 360,000 new entrants from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti by the end of 2023. The move is being made under the guise of attempting to reduce the flood of illegal crossings at the southern border.
The Pew Research Center predicts the policy, if successful, would result in the largest expansion of legal immigration in decades.
With the president expected to kick off his reelection campaign this week, Republicans will surely work to frame the move as an overreach that usurps Congress of its authority to legislate immigration. A flurry of lawsuits is expected as opponents of the measure hope the courts will agree that President Biden’s move is unlawful or at the very least an abuse of discretion. Already, 20 Republican-led states have filed suit in federal court to suspend the program.
“This constitutes yet another episode in which the administration has abused its executive authority in furtherance of its apparent objective for immigration policy: open borders and amnesty for all,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
As part of new work requirements, migrants entering the United States on a humanitarian basis would be required to find sponsorship from an employer and obtain a work permit. Under a previous policy, new entrants were not allowed to work for at least six months after arrival while their cases were pending.
Critics on the left have decried Biden’s recent immigration posturing as insufficiently limited to four countries when others, they say, are desperately in need as well.