Amid a protracted stalemate in Congress over immigration, President Joe Biden has opened a back door to allow hundreds of thousands of new immigrants into the country, significantly expanding the use of humanitarian parole programs for people escaping war and political turmoil around the world.
The measures, introduced over the past year to offer refuge to people fleeing Ukraine, Haiti and Latin America, offer immigrants the opportunity to fly to the United States and quickly secure work authorization, provided they have a private sponsor to take responsibility for them.
As of mid-April, some 300,000 Ukrainians had arrived in the United States under various programs — a number greater than all the people from around the world admitted through the official U.S. refugee program in the last five years.
By the end of 2023, about 360,000 Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians are expected to gain admission through a similar private sponsorship initiative introduced in January to stem unauthorized crossings at the southern border — more people than were issued immigrant visas from these countries in the last 15 years combined.
The Biden administration has also greatly expanded the number of people who are in the United States with what is known as temporary protected status, a program former President Donald Trump had sought to terminate. About 670,000 people from 16 countries have had their protections extended or become newly eligible since Biden took office, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.