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Biden's plan will protect undocumented spouses of US citizens from deportationExBulletin

Biden's plan will protect undocumented spouses of US citizens from deportationExBulletin
Biden's plan will protect undocumented spouses of US citizens from deportationExBulletin


President Joe Biden issued executive actions restricting asylum eligibility for most people who cross the border without authorization, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP .

switch captionManuel Balce Ceneta/AP

President Biden is set to announce new executive actions Tuesday that will provide protection from deportation to an estimated half-million undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens.

The plan grants “in-place parole” to undocumented people who have been in this country for at least 10 years. This measure will also allow eligible immigrants to apply for legal permanent status.

Additionally, it would open a path to legality for non-citizen minors and stepchildren of U.S. citizens.

These executive actions include providing work permits to eligible immigrants.

Biden's plan is aimed at keeping families together, said senior White House officials who asked not to be identified because the information they provided will be announced Tuesday by the president.

These actions will promote family unity and strengthen our economy, bringing significant benefit to the country and helping U.S. citizens and their noncitizen family members stay together.

The plan comes two weeks after other executive actions were implemented severely restricting asylum for most undocumented immigrants. The administration has said that while securing the southern border is a priority, so is fixing the immigration system for families in America.

Contrary to popular belief, undocumented immigrants cannot simply marry U.S. citizens to obtain legal status.

For mixed marriages, this means that attempts at legalization could result in long-term separation of families.

Relief for millions of Americans

Alejandro Paz Medrano and his wife, Erin Messinger, met nearly 20 years ago in Pennsylvania, when Medrano, originally from Mexico, was taking English classes.

In 2016, they got married.

In many ways, their life together is similar to that of other couples: They have different food tastes, Messinger always falls asleep watching movies, and Medrano snores at night.

But they also experienced terrifying moments.

The days when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents knocked on their door, but never opened it.

The moment a police officer stopped Medrano for driving a company car with expired tags, and he panicked at the thought of being deported.

And on several occasions, he had to leave his job because a promotion would have required him to prove his legal status.

It's been frustrating and scary, Medrano told NPR in Spanish. Every day we kiss each other goodbye and we don't know if it's the last.

He says not having a legal presence in the United States has influenced every aspect of his married life.

For example, the couple decided not to have children out of fear that Medrano would be deported.

I don't feel like I can be responsible for a divided family, he said as tears streamed down his face during a video interview with NPR. I know what it's like to be away from family and I couldn't leave my children abandoned.

The plan the White House is set to announce today could change his life. He would be able to drive without fear of arrest, find a stable job or start a family, he said.

Who is eligible for the Bidens plan?

The plan grants parole to undocumented people who have been in the United States for 10 years and who have been married to a U.S. citizen on or before June 17. This does not apply to immigrants who have already been deported.

According to the communication released Monday by the White House, nearly 500,000 undocumented spouses could benefit from this relief. Additionally, 50,000 non-citizen stepchildren with a parent who is a U.S. citizen would also be eligible for this protection.

Those who are eligible will have their cases evaluated by the Department of Homeland Security. If approved, they will have three years to apply for permanent residency.

“It’s not an amnesty”

The parole authority is an executive branch, meaning a different administration could suspend Biden's order.

Erica Schhommer, a law professor at the Immigration and Law Clinic at St. Marys University in San Antonio, Texas, says the broad outline of this authority is that it must be done on a case-by-case basis and therefore certainly by someone else in the White House. could put an end to such a program.

It's not some kind of blanket amnesty that would automatically turn large numbers of people into residents or citizens, she said.

As has happened with other immigration-related measures, this project risks being challenged in court.

Defenders say it's a historic moment

Employers are excited, says Rebecca Shi, executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition. We have a very tight job market. And for years, employers have been saying, “We must pave the way for legal status for people who work, pay taxes, and are now married or have children as U.S. citizens.”

She added: The path to legal status for these workers will raise wages for all, reduce inflation and stabilize our workforce.

Shi grew up in a mixed-status family: She and her father were American citizens, but her mother, who had been a doctor in her native China, was undocumented. When she arrived in the United States, she had to work in restaurants, informally.

She speaks candidly about the emotional impact of having an undocumented parent, not being able to travel together, and living in terror of having her mother deported. She remembers her mother being rear-ended by a car. She just ran. She ran three kilometers and called me. And I had to go get the car.

DACA recipients will benefit from expedited access to visas

Tuesday's announcement marks the 12th anniversary of DACA, the program created by former President Barack Obama that provided temporary protection to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as minors.

Under the White House plan, immigrants, also known as Dreamers, who have earned a degree from a U.S. institution of higher education and received an offer from a U.S. employer in a field related to their degree , can obtain a work visa more quickly. .




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