A federal judge March 8 dismissed a challenge from Republican-led states, allowing the Biden administration to continue operating a program permitting some migrants from four countries to enter the U.S. on humanitarian grounds.

U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton said Texas, and the 20 other states that joined the suit, had not adequately shown they had suffered financial harm because of the program, which they would have had to demonstrate to have legal standing to challenge the policy.

The program grants short-term legal status in the U.S. to up to 30,000 asylum-seekers each month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela combined. The administration indicated that the program was intended in part to deter illegal border crossings amid a surge. It grants some asylum-seekers two years of parole, or temporary permission, to live and work in the U.S., if they have a financial sponsor.

The move came in tandem with new Biden administration policies restricting asylum access, so it was praised and criticized in turn by Catholic immigration advocates.

In a statement, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said, "We are pleased that today's court ruling means that the parole processes for individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela will continue."

"These processes -- a safe and orderly way to reach the United States -- have resulted in a significant reduction in the number of these individuals encountered at our southern border," Mayorkas said March 8. "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 added, "We will continue to deliver strengthened consequences for those who attempt to circumvent lawful pathways on land or at sea."

"Do not believe the lies of smugglers," he said. "Those who do not have a legal basis to remain in the United States will be subject to prompt removal, a minimum five-year bar on admission, and potential criminal prosecution for unlawful reentry. Migrants should continue to use safe and orderly lawful pathways and processes that have been expanded under the Biden-Harris Administration."

The same day the judge ruled against his state's suit, the office of Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott touted the third anniversary of his "Operation Lone Star" program that seeks to reduce border crossings.

In a March 8 press release, Abbott's office said, "Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps created by the Biden Administration's refusal to secure the border."