‘Impact is severe’: Texas Republicans erupt over DHS migrant flight program as state becomes top destination

Texas Republicans are furious at new revelations that the state is one of the top destinations for a controversial Biden parole program expanded in 2023.

Texas Republicans are criticizing a Biden administration parole program for four nationalities after it was revealed this week that three of the top destinations for migrants under the program are in Texas — on top of the numbers it is already seeing coming across the border.

“It’s just another layer to the entirety of what we’re dealing with,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas told Fox News Digital in an interview. “But that’s what people need to understand, it’s a very specific program designed to flood the system, misusing parole to do it.”

Fox News reported this week on how official stats show that during an eight-month period from January through August 2023, roughly 200,000 migrants flew into the U.S. via a parole program for four nationalities. Of those, the vast majority landed in Florida, but three of the top 15 destinations were in Texas — Austin, Dallas and Houston. Over 10,000 migrants traveled to those airports in that period.


The policy was first announced for Venezuelans in October 2022, which allowed a limited number to fly or travel directly into the U.S. as long as they had not entered illegally, had a sponsor in the U.S. already, and passed certain biometric and biographical vetting. The program does not itself facilitate flights, and migrants are responsible for their own travel.

In January 2023, the administration expanded the program to include Haitians, Nicaraguans and Cubans, with up to 30,000 people per month allowed into the U.S. It allows for migrants to receive work permits and a two-year authorization to live in the U.S. and was announced alongside an expansion of Title 42 expulsions to include those nationalities. By the end of February 2024, more than 400,000 nationals have arrived under the parole program, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.

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DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently said the program is a “safe and orderly way to reach the United States” and has “led to a reduction in numbers of those nationalities.”

“It is a key element of our efforts to address the unprecedented level of migration throughout our hemisphere, and other countries around the world see it as a model to tackle the challenge of increased irregular migration that they too are experiencing,” Mayorkas said.


DHS has said that those who enter the U.S. under the program undergo and clear a “robust security vetting” as well as other eligibility criteria. 

“These processes are publicly available online, and DHS has been providing regular updates on their use to the public. These processes are part of the administration’s strategy to combine expanded lawful pathways with stronger consequences to reduce irregular migration, and have kept hundreds of thousands of people from migrating irregularly,” a spokesperson told Fox News Digital last month.

But Republicans have claimed the program abuses the parole limits set by Congress, which say that the authority must be used on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or for significant public benefit. It also comes amid an ongoing border crisis that the Biden administration has blamed on a lack of resources and a “broken” immigration system in need of reform, but that Republicans have blamed on the policies of the Biden administration.


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“The invasion at our southern border has turned every American city into a border city, and the Biden administration’s efforts to fly illegal aliens across the country is the reason why,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

“Biden’s fast-track processing, and programs like their CHNV parole program, are only pushing the border crisis further into the interior of the country. Every day, our national security is being undermined more and more by the Biden administration,” he said. “In Texas, Houston, Dallas, and Austin have been hit especially hard by the open border, finding themselves having to support tens of thousands of illegal aliens Biden has rolled out the red carpet for.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was asked on “The Brian Kilmeade Show” if he thought that the program was okay.

“No,” he said. Cornyn has previously slammed the use of parole by the administration as “cooking the books.” 

Roy told Fox that the historic crisis, which has seen more than 2.4 million migrant encounters last fiscal year at the border, is having a “severe” impact on the state, and he believes Texans will be angry to learn that more migrants are flying in.

“So the impact is severe,” Roy said. “This parole program now I think the Texans are going to go: ‘Wait a minute. You mean they’re flooding across the border and you’re flying people directly to our airports and to our communities?’ And I think that’s going to just continue to elevate the frustration people feel.”

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In terms of Republicans effecting change in Washington, Roy says that with a current stalemate that he blames on Speaker Mike Johnson for giving away leverage on Ukraine funding to fix the border, it will be up to governors to act to secure the border.

“Much of the leverage has been given up. So I think this is more of a reason for Texas to do what it has to do, governors to do what they have to do, because, frankly, the federal government has abandoned them,” he said. “This is a reason to elect Donald Trump. This is a reason to, yes, send Republicans, to the House and to the Senate. So we can at least have an actual debate about border security.”

Fox News’ Aubrie Spady contributed to this report.

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