FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 26th, 2023
Mynellies Negrón | (703) 585-6727 | [email protected]
Immigrant Rights Advocates Condemn GOP-Led Lawsuit to Block Parole Program
The lawsuit could block up to 360,000 migrants yearly from seeking safety and refuge from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela
WASHINGTON D.C. – A group of immigrant Rights Advocates, including We Are All America, are denouncing a politically-motivated lawsuit filed by a coalition of 20 states—including Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama— against the Biden administration seeking to block the new parole program for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
The lawsuit is an effort from America First Legal, a conservative legal group founded by former Trump aide Stephen Miller, that would target the Biden administration’s proposal of allowing 360,000 people per year entry to the country through humanitarian parole in an attempt to reduce border crossings. Although President Biden’s response earlier this month to the immigration situation in the country has stirred controversy, the new parole program was a small step towards addressing the needs of those seeking safety and belonging.
Moreover, the lawsuit raises concerns over its discriminatory nature of targeting countries of people of color, as these states did not challenge a similar parole program for Ukraine. It is yet another evidence of the misuse of the judicial system to advance racism and white nationalism. If this lawsuit were to advance, it could subject thousands of vulnerable migrants seeking humanitarian protection to Title 42 expulsions.
Leaders from diverse organizations calling out on this lawsuit have expressed their concerns and are asking for humane actions to bring long-term solutions to immigration:
“We Are All America denounces this lawsuit, as it would leave already at-risk communities more vulnerable to expulsions and attacks. Rather than filing a lawsuit, we need states working together to implement sustainable solutions that address the humanitarian needs of the people seeking safety from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela,” said Basma Alawee, Campaign Director of We Are All America. “Although the parole program fell short of what we hoped for, and the GOP-led lawsuit only further reinstates the idea that we need immigration policies that recognize people’s full humanity, and not punish them for a situation outside their control.”
“Adding Florida to this lawsuit affirms Gov. DeSantis’ relentless anti-immigrant agenda – not that of Floridians. This choice proves that even legal pathways are not acceptable to his administration. As the Florida Immigrant Coalition, we denounce this cruel political theater. We also denounce the hypocrisy of the DeSantis regime, which chooses to stand in the way of reuniting the families he represents. We are committed to continuing to push for welcoming, inclusivity, and protection of immigrants in the state of Florida,” Paula Muñoz, Director of Organizing for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
“When vulnerable persons at risk decide to migrate, it’s not by choice but by the terrifying circumstances they find themselves in. It’s about time we think critically and look within our souls and ask ourselves – if the reverse was the case and I had to experience a war and had to seek refuge, would I be okay if left deserted and at risk of death?” said Sharon Nije, Communication and Strategic Partnership Director for the Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants. “At the Louisiana organization for Refugees and Immigrants, we denounce this inhuman lawsuit which will only lead to more chaos rather than a possible solution to the refugee crisis. Instead, we advise a more inclusive and collaborative strategy, such as providing humanitarian assistance, working together to share the responsibility for protecting refugees, and helping to bring about a peaceful solution to the conflicts currently forcing millions to flee their homes.”
“For decades, conservative rhetoric and talking points have focused on the legality of migration—yet, when a pathway for safe and lawful migration is presented, they immediately jump at the opportunity to shut it down. When similar pathways were opened to migrants fleeing Ukraine, state and federal governments, including conservative leaders, stepped up to create an environment of welcome. This makes it clear that their attacks on migration are fueled purely by racism and white supremacy. It is shameful that Attorney General Skrmetti would join forces with the likes of Stephen Miller,” said Judith Clerjeune, Campaigns and Advocacy Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. “TIRRC fully denounces Tennessee’s decision to join this lawsuit. Tennessee leaders must stop hiding their hypocrisy—their response to this recent policy makes it clear. They are completely out of touch with what everyday Tennesseans want and what our country needs. Every day, we speak and work with Tennesseans who want to support our new neighbors who need safety and protection in our country. This is what it means to be a Tennessean, after all, and we will continue leading with those values and welcoming with dignity.”
We Are All America is housed under the National Partnership for New Americans. We Are All America was founded in direct response to the hate and vitriol attacks of the Trump administration by leading resettlement agencies and other national partners, including; Church World Service, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services, Refugee Congress, Refugee Council USA, Alianza Americas, Welcoming America, CHIRLA, Human Rights First, Refugee Advocacy Lab, Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, Unite Oregan, Florida Immigrant Coalition and International Rescue Committee.