Biden announces new program to grant legal status to some undocumented immigrants

by Hailey Gomez
2G044HB Arlington, United States. 31st May, 2021. President Joe Biden speaks at the153rd National Memorial Day Observance Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia on Monday, May 31, 2021. President Biden also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider before speaking. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News

Photo: Alamy

According to a White House press release, Joe Biden is set to announce Tuesday a new immigration program for U.S. citizen spouses that would offer a legal status path for an estimated 500,000 unauthorized immigrants.

The new policy, headed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), seeks to allow immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens to apply for a work permit and deportation protection if they meet a certain set of requirements, according to CBS News. Some of the requirements listed by the press release state that U.S. citizen spouses must have lived within the U.S. for at least 10 years and must be legally married.

CBS News reported that Biden’s move would not only unlock a permanent path to residency but, if upheld, it could be considered one of the largest government programs for illegal immigrants since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which was pushed through by Barack Obama.

In addition to spouses, Biden is also seeking to approve approximately 50,000 “noncitizen children under the age of 21 whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen,” according to the White House.

“President Biden believes that securing the border is essential. He also believes in expanding lawful pathways and keeping families together, and that immigrants who have been in the United States for decades, paying taxes and contributing to their communities, are part of the social fabric of our country,” the press release said.

The press release continued, “The Day One immigration reform plan that the President sent to Congress reflects both the need for a secure border and protections for the long-term undocumented.”

The new policy push comes after Biden’s recent immigration executive action that states new asylum requests will be paused after the number of migrants hit a daily average of 2,500 over a week and will resume once the daily average can fall back to 1,500.

As the border crisis has been an ongoing issue for Americans across the U.S., under Biden’s administration, there have been an estimated 8 million migrant encounters nationwide, with roughly 6.7 million of them occurring at the U.S. southern border, according to the House Budget Committee.

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