UCLA Law’s immigration center scores a big win in federal court for humanitarian parole

March 26, 2024
From left: Talia Inlender, Eric Sype, and Monika Langarica.
From left: Talia Inlender, Deputy Director of CILP, client Eric Sype and Monika Langarica, a CILP senior staff attorney.

Clients of UCLA School of Law’s Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) earned a big win in federal court earlier this month, when they prevailed in their legal defense to uphold a Biden administration program that gives temporary legal status to certain people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela (CHNV).

On March 8, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas let the CHNV program continue because Texas and other states that had sued to end the plan do not have standing. Last year, seven people – including a schoolteacher, a doctor and a retiree – joined the United States as defendants in the case, Texas v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to preserve the CHNV program, which allows humanitarian parole to thousands of immigrants. They were represented by CILP, the Justice Action Center and RAICES.

Monika Langarica, who is a CILP senior staff attorney, defended the program in court and co-wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times at the start of the trial, in August 2023, which set forth the issues at stake: “Our clients span the political spectrum; they are Black, white and Latino, with diverse reasons for sponsoring their global neighbors. They are united by one thing: They recognize that communities have as much — or more — to gain by welcoming newcomers as the newcomers themselves.”

During the trial, Langarica delivered the opening argument and examined the only witness in the case. Throughout the case, she and other CILP advocates – including UCLA Law student Joshua Behrens ’24, who worked on the case as a CILP summer fellow – played a lead role in all aspects of the litigation, including trial strategy, brief writing and witness preparation.

“It was an honor to be a part of CILP’s crucial work defending the freedom to welcome, and I am heartened that thousands more Americans will get to reunite with their loved ones because of this ruling,” Behrens says.

After the judge issued his recent ruling, Langarica was again quoted in The New York Times. She said, “Today’s decision is a victory for people who have jumped at the opportunity to sponsor loved ones under this program, and it is a critical repudiation of Texas’s attempt to hold immigration policy hostage for the entire country.”

Watch a video in which Langarica explains the significance of the victory.

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