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Biden announced the program amid a continued surge of migrants

Florida has joined 19 states in challenging a newly-announced Biden administration program to accept 30,000 migrants a month from the nations of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

The states, led by Texas, on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in federal court in Texas’ southern district against against U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other federal agencies involved in immigration contending that there is no legal authority for the program rolled out by President Joe Biden just ahead of an early January visit to the southern border. The lawsuit also contends that states will be harmed by an influx of migrants from the four countries covered by the program.

Florida joins 19 states to challenge Biden’s new immigration program
In recent weeks, hundreds of migrants fleeing Cuba and Haiti have made the dangerous 100-mile journey by boat to the Florida Keys.

“The Biden open borders agenda has created a humanitarian crisis that is increasing crime and violence in our streets, overwhelming local communities, and worsening the opioid crisis,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement about the lawsuit. “This unlawful amnesty program, which will invite hundreds of thousands of aliens into the U.S. every year, will only make this immigration crisis drastically worse.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody called the new Biden program “a reckless attempt to continue flooding the country with massive waves of illegal immigrants.”

Florida is already home to sizable populations of people who have left all four countries covered by the White House actions. In recent weeks, hundreds of migrants fleeing Cuba and Haiti have made the dangerous 100-mile journey by boat to the Florida Keys, straining resources and moving Gov. Ron DeSantis to activate the state National Guard to respond to the influx.

A White House representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Biden announced the program amid a continued surge of migrants crossing the southern border, many of them coming in from countries that are ruled by authoritarian regimes such as Cuba and Venezuela.

Both Republicans and Democrats have been critical over how the Biden administration has handled border issues, but some of the strongest criticism has come from GOP leaders in Florida and Texas. DeSantis last fall arranged to fly nearly 50 mostly Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, an effort that itself has drawn legal challenges in Florida and Massachusetts. Abbott has also bused thousands of migrants from the southern border to Democratic-led cities like Washington, D.C. and NYC.

Under the new program, the United States said it would grant “humanitarian” parole to eligible migrants who apply from their home countries. Those who have an eligible sponsor and pass background checks are allowed to come to the United States for two years and receive work authorization. The program was an expansion of one created for Venezuelans last year.

But Biden and federal officials stressed that those who wanted to apply for the program would not be eligible if they tried to cross the border.

When Biden announced the parole program, he called on Republicans to support comprehensive immigration changes. He said that changes outlined earlier this month “won’t fix our entire immigration system but they can help us a good deal in better managing what is a difficult challenge. … Until Congress passes the funds, a comprehensive immigration plan to fix the system completely, my administration is going to work to make things at the border better using the tools that we have.”

Rep. María Elvira Salazar (R-Miami) has put together a comprehensive immigration package but it’s not clear if the proposal will gain much traction in Congress.

Both Florida and Texas have launched several lawsuits challenging Biden administration immigration policies.

What Joe Biden ate during his visit to Santa Cruz County

When President Joe Biden visited Santa Cruz County last Thursday, he was the first sitting president to do so in more than 30 years. He was here to tour the destruction wrought by early January’s intense storms, and while I don’t want to make light of the damage to local businesses and homes, I was curious — would he have time to grab a bite to eat?

During his short visit — less than four hours — Biden visited the storm-wrecked restaurants on the Capitola Esplanade, including Paradise Beach Grille and Zelda’s On The Beach. He met with Chuck Hammers, owner of Pizza My Heart; My Thai Beach owner Dominic King; Chuck Maier and Ally Gottlieb, co-owners of Paradise Beach Grille; Patrick Lynn, owner of Bay Bar and Grill; The Sand Bar owners Minna and Jeff Lantis; and Jill Ealy and John Ealy Jr., owners of Zelda’s, as well as Zelda’s kitchen manager, Josh Whitby.

Surely, he worked up an appetite. Would the president stop for lunch — or at least some ice cream?

I wondered whether Biden, a notable ice cream lover, would take the opportunity to visit The Penny Ice Creamery to meet owners Zach Davis and Kendra Baker in person. In 2010, Davis and Baker created a YouTube video that thanked then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an economic stimulus package in the wake of the global financial crisis, through which they were able to secure a $250,000 loan to open their first artisanal ice cream shop on Cedar Street in downtown Santa Cruz. Biden personally called Davis and Baker to thank them for the video, saying that he “was coming for ice cream.”

That visit never materialized, but it seems Biden got his ice cream fix anyway, this time from another Santa Cruz-based ice cream shop — Marianne’s Ice Cream. Biden’s team enjoyed ice cream sandwiches from the iconic local ice cream shop as well as pizza from Woodstock’s Pizza in Santa Cruz during the visit to Seacliff State Beach.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2023
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