Legal expert weighs in on new Biden immigration plan, border enforcement

San Antonio clinical law professor predicts new policy may not meet the needs of migrants

President Joe Biden plans to see border enforcement operations in El Paso Sunday after announcing a new parole process that includes turning away Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Haitians who illegally cross the border from Mexico.

Instead, the Department of Homeland Security will accept 30,000 people from those four countries a month and offer them an opportunity to work legally.

“It’s…going to have devastating effects on asylum seekers who don’t know anyone in the U.S. or don’t have anybody who meets the criteria to be a sponsor to qualify for the parole program,” St. Mary’s University Clinical Law Professor Erica Schommer said.

Schommer oversees the nonprofit immigration representation program at the university. She said the parole process fails to meet the United States’ asylum criteria under the Refugee Convention.

“Anybody who makes it to our soil and has a genuine fear of return would be allowed to follow through with that process. It does not seem like that is going to be the case,” Schommer said.

Whether migrants seek asylum or not, they must apply for parole from their home country.

“I’m not opposed to us creating a process by which someone can apply for asylum outside of the U.S., but I do have significant safety concerns about people’s ability to do it and also how long that process will take on our end,” Schommer said.

According to DHS, this process is part of preparation plans to end Title 42. Once Title 42 is no longer in place, federal agents will enforce safe and orderly processing at ports of entry.

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About the Authors:

Allysa Cole is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in September 2022. She previously worked in the Rio Grande Valley at KGBT, KRGV and Azteca Valle. She started her career at WHPM FOX23 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, after graduating from University of Southern Mississippi. Allysa is a Detroit native.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.