US Citizens: Biden To Protect Undocumented Spouses


President Joe Biden is set to announce a new policy that would protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented spouses of US citizens from deportation, according to administration officials.

The action will apply to those who have been in the country for at least 10 years and will allow them to work in the US legally.

It marks the most significant relief programme for undocumented migrants already in the US since the Obama administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or Daca, in 2012.

“The White House believes more than 500,000 spouses of US citizens will benefit, in addition to 50,000 young people under 21 whose parent is married to an American citizen.”

Earlier in June, Mr Biden vowed to make the US immigration system “more fair and more just.”

Polls show that immigration is a primary concern for many voters ahead of the presidential election this November.

The announcement comes ahead of an event on Tuesday marking the 12th anniversary of the Daca programme, which shielded over 530,000 migrants who came to the US as children – known as Dreamers – from deportation.

On Monday, senior administration officials said that undocumented spouses of US citizens would qualify if they had lived in the country for 10 years and been married as of 17 June.

Those who qualify will have three years to apply for permanent residency and will be eligible for a three-year work permit.

On average, the White House believes that those eligible for the process have been in the US for 23 years. A majority will have been born in Mexico.

They will be “paroled in place” and allowed to remain in the US while their status is changed.
NumbersUSA, an immigration reform group, slammed the new policy as “unconscionable.”

Rather than stopping the worst border crisis in history, President Biden has overreached his executive authority to use an unconstitutional process, circumventing voters and their elected representatives in Congress, to send a message that amnesty is available to those who enter illegally into the United States.”

Alex Cuic, an immigration lawyer and professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, told the BBC that while the action affected a “narrow group“, it marked a “start” for a segment of the US immigrant population that historically would face complications normalising their status in the country, even when eligible.

A good majority of them would have to leave the country in order to come back lawfully,” he said. “It’s like they physically enter the US, but their immigration ‘soul’ doesn’t come with them.”

By allowing beneficiaries to parole in place, Mr Cuic added that officials “kill off the need to separate families” when one spouse needs to leave the country to apply for lawful permanent residence.

The application process is likely to be open by the end of summer, a senior administration official said on Monday.




BBC/Shakirat Sadiq

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