EDINBURG, Texas—Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and seven other attorneys general on Friday lodged a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s administration over its alleged abuse of a refugee program.
The Central American Minors Program lets illegal aliens petition the government to bring their minor children or other family members to the United States, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an office inside the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
If aliens don’t meet the criteria for refugee status, officials will consider them for parole, which DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, a Biden nominee, can grant on a case-by-case basis to let the aliens into the country but is only supposed to be used if the secretary finds “‘compelling reasons in the public interest” in each case.
Aliens can apply for family members to come even if they don’t have legal status, according to the agency’s website.
But Congress hasn’t granted the authority for the government to run such a program, the attorneys general charge.
“There are no lawful paths for aliens who lack status to come join other aliens who lack status in the United States—and for good reason. It defies common sense. No sovereign nation would reward those who break the law by permitting family members abroad to join them in living in the sovereign territory unlawfully, particularly with the assistance of the government itself,” the officials said in the 34-page lawsuit, filed in federal court in Amarillo.
The program, they said, “is illegal.”
The suit asks the court to stop the program.
The attorneys general of Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, and Oklahoma joined Paxon in the suit. All are Republicans.
Mayorkas and other officials, and DHS and other agencies, are named as defendants.
The White House, DHS, and the State Department didn’t respond to requests for comment.
“The Biden Administration has sown nothing but disaster for our country through its illegal, unconstitutional immigration policies,” Paxton said in a statement. “Biden’s latest round of flagrant law-breaking includes his Central American Minors Program, which has contributed significantly to many states being forced to take in even more aliens. My fellow attorneys general and I are suing to stop it.”
The suit was filed shortly after the Biden administration reported almost 1.9 million apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2021, easily setting a new record.
By Charlotte Cuthbertson and Zachary Stieber