VICTORIA, TX – A schoolteacher, a retiree, a doctor, and four other U.S. citizens asked a federal district court to allow them to become parties to Texas v. DHS to defend their ability to sponsor loved ones and others from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela through a recently announced “CHNV” humanitarian parole program. If the motion to intervene is granted, the seven individuals, represented by Justice Action Center (JAC), RAICES, and the Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) at the UCLA School of Law, will join the United States as defendants in the legal battle over whether the program should be allowed to proceed.
“This program is about bringing people together, and allowing for loving and caring relationships to take seed in this country, and it would be devastating to friends and families throughout the Americas if the program were no longer allowed to continue,” said Eric Sype, one of the intervenors.
While not a substitute for a functional asylum system, the CHNV parole program has served as a lifeline for thousands of individuals who have already been able to enter the United States. More than 7,500 sponsors’ applications were approved within the first month of the program’s announcement. The program allows up to 30,000 people from the four countries to enter per month.
“We’re seeking to intervene because the CHNV programs represent a unique and welcome feature to the United States’ current immigration system,” said Esther Sung, legal director at Justice Action Center. “They provide an opportunity for everyday American citizens to sponsor their global neighbors for a variety of reasons: from living out their religious faith, to moral and humanitarian convictions; because they are able to facilitate employment and provide economic opportunity, or because they want to reunite and provide safety with close family members.”
The program was challenged by Texas and 20 other states, who filed Texas v. DHS in Victoria, Texas. This lawsuit follows a now-familiar pattern among states to challenge executive-level actions on immigration and other issues. One such attempt was thwarted at the Supreme Court last year when justices determined that President Biden was within his rights to begin the process of winding down Remain in Mexico, a program that left tens of thousands of people seeking safety marooned on the Mexican side of the U.S. border.
“U.S. border policy has become increasingly restrictive over the years, severely limiting safe and viable options for people seeking safety within the U.S. The CHNV parole program provides one remaining critical pathway and we must defend it,” said Monika Langarica, staff attorney at the Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) at the UCLA School of Law. “ As governments of states like Texas keep working to dismantle viable pathways, the seven individuals seeking to intervene in this case demonstrate the will of everyday people to welcome with dignity and humanity. Each of these courageous individuals has a direct stake in this crucial program. The courts must consider their interests and not permit Texas and other states to continue holding immigration policy hostage for the whole country.”
The motion to intervene filed yesterday would ensure the court considers the compelling interests and perspectives of the people most impacted by the program. These individuals represent a cross section of the tens of thousands of Americans who have already sponsored friends, loved ones, and strangers. The CHNV program was modeled upon the wildly successful Uniting for Ukraine program, which has allowed tens of thousands of Ukrainians to parole into the United States for up to two years, and which the states have not challenged.
"While the parole program for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans is insufficient to serve the needs of migrants from these four countries, states guided by overt anti-immigrant bias cannot be left to determine the fate of our immigration system and defeat the few opportunities that do exist to access pathways to the U.S.,” said Tami Goodlette, Director of Litigation at RAICES. "We need parole programs that allow U.S. citizens to sponsor migrants to come to the U.S. to reunite with their families, to secure medical care for loved ones, to seek safety and refuge, and for other humanitarian reasons. States should not be able to deny U.S. citizens this opportunity and block legal pathways to parole in the U.S."
Intervenors also include Valerie Laveus, a Florida schoolteacher who hopes to sponsor her brother and nephew to join her in the United States. Valerie has become increasingly worried about her family's safety as the situation in Haiti becomes more dire.
“We are kin,” said Laveus. “It is heart wrenching to have a part of you be away and not be safe. This program is a critical lifeline not just for my family, but for thousands of others like us.”
Here is the motion to intervene and the recording of today’s press conference.
Founded in 2020, the Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) at the UCLA School of Law expands the law school's role as a national leader in immigration law and policy, generating innovative ideas at the intersection of immigration scholarship and practice and serving as a hub for transforming those ideas into meaningful changes in immigration policy.
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