Humanitarian Parole Crisis at the Border

Immigrant Rights, Racial Justice

Lawyers for Civil Rights and the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project Take Action On Behalf of Vulnerable Immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border 

The organizations partnered to file a Freedom of Information Act request to assess the full scope of the crisis surrounding humanitarian parole at the border.

Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) and the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project (the Florence Project) took action this week in response to the federal government’s failure to provide humanitarian parole at the U.S. border.

Humanitarian parole is designed to allow individuals to enter the United States when there are emergency or humanitarian reasons to do so. The applicable statutory and regulatory provisions vest full discretion for humanitarian parole in the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. In light of the utter shut-down of normal processing for asylum-seekers and those fleeing persecution and violence, it is appropriate and necessary to grant humanitarian parole for particularly vulnerable families and individuals arriving at the U.S border. 

Nevertheless, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to enforce deeply problematic and discriminatory Trump-era federal policies. While the border is now open to commerce and tourism, the federal government continues denying critical immigration protection and relief at the border. This is an extreme abuse of power that endangers human lives. It also throws well-established immigration processes such as humanitarian parole requests into disarray. 

LCR and the Florence Project filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with federal authorities to assess the full scope of the crisis surrounding humanitarian parole. Since August 2021, the Florence Project has filed 20 requests for vulnerable individuals to be allowed to enter the U.S. under humanitarian parole. The vast majority of those have been ignored or summarily denied. Recent practices stand in stark contrast to border processing procedures prior to policies such as Title 42 and Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) that have effectively shut-down asylum access at the border. Requested records include data on humanitarian parole applications from 2016 to the present broken down by applicant country of citizenship. The federal government must disclose the total number of applications for humanitarian parole it has received, including how many remain pending without adjudication or meaningful resolution. To determine whether the inaction is mandated by White House or DHS officials, we are also seeking government protocols and directives surrounding the adjudication of humanitarian parole applications. 

LCR and the Florence Project will continue protecting immigrants, including individuals arriving at the border to allow them to seek legal protection such as asylum from safety within the United States.

The full request is available here.  Click here to download the request.