Nov 2 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Senator Thom Tillis and his colleagues introduced the Southern Border Transparency Act, which would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to accurately report how it is handling migrants encountered at the border. This legislation will ensure the American people have a full accounting of the number of migrants being released into the United States by the Biden Administration along with information detailing where they are coming from. 

“The Biden Administration refuses to offer serious solutions to the crisis unfolding at our Southern border, and would prefer to keep the American people in the dark about its failures,” said Senator Tillis. “I am proud to cosponsor this legislation, which will require real transparency about the Biden Administration’s failure to stop the flow of illegal immigration at our Southern border.” 


The Biden Administration’s strategy for handling the influx of migrants at the border has been to abuse and misuse immigration law to funnel migrants into so-called “parole” programs. This includes the Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan parole program, an expanded Central American Minors program that now includes adults, as well as the likely widespread use of parole at Ports of Entry (POEs). These migrants are eligible for work authorization, and there is limited visibility into whether they ultimately depart the United States.

Currently, only limited public data is available on the total number of people released into the U.S. under these programs, whether they are even making asylum claims before they are released, what screenings are taking place, or whether these migrants ever depart the United States. The Southern Border Transparency Act would require DHS to fully report on how it is handling migrants encountered at the border, including: 

  • The number of migrants paroled at each POE and in each Border Patrol sector;
  • The number of migrants apprehended at each POE and in each Border Patrol sector and how many were granted voluntary departure, placed into expedited removal, or simply released into the interior; 
  • The number of petitions for parole received and granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); and
  • The total number of migrants paroled into the United States each fiscal year, whether they are granted work authorization, and whether they ultimately depart the United States when their parole expires.  

Earlier this year, the Biden Administration acted without Congress’ consent to create programs that allow for hundreds of thousands of migrants to be paroled and released into the United States annually. One will enable migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to remain in the U.S. for two years legally and offers work authorizations to up to 360,000 people a year. 

These practices result in decreased apprehensions but do not decrease the number of migrants with unrealistic asylum claims who are entering and remaining in the United States. Separately, the Administration is releasing an unknown number of individuals under the label of “humanitarian release,” although it is unclear who qualifies. Although some migrants are placed into expedited removal proceedings, most are released into the interior of the U.S. before DHS even determines whether they will make asylum claims, let alone whether those claims are credible.