A coalition of Republican attorneys general sued the Biden administration last week for restarting an immigration program repealed by former President Donald Trump.
The coalition is led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The lawsuit is Paxton’s 20th court challenge filed against the Biden administration and Paxton’s 7th on issues related to immigration. The lawsuit is joined by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, and Oklahoma.
The lawsuit targets President Joe Biden’s reimplementation of the Central American Minors (CAM) program, which creates a path for certain children who are nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to apply for refugee status and resettlement in the U.S. The program also opens up legal immigration options for family members of the applicants.
The program began under former President Barack Obama (D) in 2014. The Trump administration repealed the plan in 2017 after judging that the Obama administration had illegally created a pathway to immigration without congressional approval.
Biden restarted the program in June and announced he would expand it to allow children with a parent or legal guardian legally living in the U.S. or who has applied for a visa or asylum in the U.S. The parents or legal guardians of each applicant are also eligible for the CAM program.
“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.”
A press release from the office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody describes the CAM program the lawsuit: “While the program references refugee status, most individuals in the program do not qualify as a refugee. Instead, the government uses parole authority under 8 U.S.C. § 1182. However, that authority is an extraordinarily narrow mechanism to temporarily admit individuals on a case-by-case basis and is limited to circumstances presenting urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. The multistate complaint also argues that the CAM program is arbitrary and capricious, subject to notice and comment, and violates the president’s duty to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed.”
Moody said in a statement: “After seeing the chaos in person, it is even more clear to me now that Biden and [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas] are building their own illegal organization to transport illegal immigrants into and around our country — thumbing their noses at federal laws. I will not only work aggressively to stop these illegal acts, but I will continue to inform Floridians about what their federal government is actually doing, and the dangers associated with those decisions.”
State Department deputy spokeswoman Jalina Porter announced the expanded CAM program at a press briefing in June.
“Petitioner eligibility will now be extended to legal guardians, in addition to parents, who are lawfully present in the United States,” she said at the time. “This expansion will also allow certain parents and legal guardians who have a pending asylum application or a pending U visa petition, filed prior to May 15th, 2021, the ability to reunite with their children. This is just one component of the President’s multi-pronged approach to address the challenges of irregular migration through and from Central America.”
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