Missouri AG files suit against Biden Administration for unlawful reinstatement of ineffective Central American Minors Refugee Program

A gavel and a name plate with the engraving Lawsuit

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, along with seven other attorneys general, filed suit against the Biden Administration for their unlawful reinstatement of the ineffective Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee and Parole Program. The lawsuit alleges that illegal aliens with pending asylum claims can petition the government through the CAM Program to allow their minor children and relatives into the United States, despite no legal or statutory authority to do so.

“The crisis at the border continues to grow every day, and as human traffickers and drug cartels take advantage of the Biden Administration’s weak border policies, every state is now a border state – this porous border affects all of us. That’s why I filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration to halt the unlawful reimplementation of the ineffective Central American Minors Refugee and Parole Program,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Despite the implementation of this policy under the Obama Administration, minor apprehensions continued to rise. President Trump was right to cancel this program, and the Biden Administration exceeded its statutory authority in reimplementing the program. My Office has been a national leader in taking concrete action to secure the border. I’ve taken the Biden Administration to court and won following their cancellation of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, and I intend to win in court again.”

The lawsuit states, “Illegal aliens do not have the right under federal law to petition the federal government for their relatives abroad to join them in residing in the United States. There are no lawful paths for aliens who lack status to come join other aliens who lack status in the United States,” and continues, “But the Biden Administration has created such a program for certain illegal aliens who are from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras (the region known as the Northern Triangle) and who reside in the United States, so long as they meet certain arbitrary qualifications created by the Administration. In short, if an illegal alien from one of those three countries is inside the United States and has so much as a pending application for asylum, they can petition the United States Government to bring their minor children into the United States—despite no explicit authority from Congress to do so. And not just the illegal alien’s minor children, but also the in-country parent of a qualifying child, a legal guardian, or a child’s primary caregiver.”

The lawsuit argues that the government screens illegal aliens through the Refugee Admission Program for admission into the United States, but most illegal aliens who apply rarely meet the standard for a refugee. The lawsuit says, “The crux of the CAM program is its use of the parole authority—an authority only available on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or for significant public benefit—to allow the very same individuals who did not qualify as refugees to come into the United States. A result that is entirely inconsistent with the law.”

The Obama Administration implemented the CAM Program in late 2014, hoping to decrease the number of minor apprehensions at the border – however, the program did not achieve that effect, as while filings for the program remained low, 40,000 unaccompanied alien children were apprehended along the southwest border in Fiscal Year 2015, and an additional approximate 59,700 were apprehended in Fiscal Year 2016.

The Trump Administration terminated the program, and in their review, stated, “DHS found that as of July 13, 2017, the CAM Program had approved 99% of the beneficiaries who had been interviewed as refugees or recommended them for parole (30% as refugees, 69% for parole) and that only 1% had been denied both refugee status and parole.” DHS’s review determined that “the CAM Parole program provided parole very broadly and not in accordance with the statu[t]e and the President’s Executive Order.”

The lawsuit argues that the Biden Administration’s reimplementation and expansion of the program “usurps the power of Congress to dictate a national scheme of immigration laws and is contrary to the INA.”

The full petition can be found at this link

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office filed suit against the Biden Administration following their cancellation of the “Remain in Mexico” policy and won at the district court level, and successfully defended the injunction at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United State Supreme Court. Because of these court wins, the Biden Administration is required to reimplement the program and recently expanded the program to the Rio Grande Valley.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office also filed suit against the Biden Administration to require them to continue construction on the Southwest border wall using funds already appropriated by Congress for that purpose.

And recently, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, calling on DHS to end a TSA policy that allows migrants to use civil arrest warrants as identification at airports.

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