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Biden Announces Aid for Some Spouses of Undocumented US Citizens, ‘Dreamers’

Biden Announces Aid for Some Spouses of Undocumented US Citizens, ‘Dreamers’

The action will also affect some undocumented children

President Joe Biden will announce two new executive actions on Tuesday that could provide relief to thousands of undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for several years.

The first action aims to streamline the process by which undocumented spouses and undocumented children of U.S. citizens apply for lawful permanent residence.

The policy allows noncitizens married to U.S. citizens to legally live and work in the United States without having to leave the country. Non-citizen children of applicants would also be eligible for protection.

Under current laws, some undocumented immigrants must first leave the U.S. and apply for legal residency in their home country if they marry a citizen. In some cases, these migrants are not allowed to return to the US for 10 years.

To qualify for the program, non-citizen spouses must have been in the U.S. for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024, without previously being legally admitted to the country or paroled. They must also have been legally married to a U.S. citizen on the same date and must also be considered not to pose a threat to public safety or national security. If eligible, the spouses are given three years to apply for legal permanent residence.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that up to half a million spouses could qualify for the program, and about 50,000 children of these spouses would also be protected.

The president is also expected to announce a new move that will allow some undocumented immigrants, including some DACA recipients and so-called “Dreamers,” to more quickly obtain employment-based nonimmigrant visas, senior administration officials said.

To qualify, applicants must have graduated from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States and have been offered a highly qualified job with a U.S. employer in their field.

Tuesday’s announcement comes just two weeks after President Biden implemented an executive action limiting the number of migrants who can seek asylum between ports of entry when encounters with migrants at the border reach more than 2,500 per day for a week.

Some members of his own party denounced the asylum ceiling. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last week challenging the order.

Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told ABC News in an interview that caucus members met with the president at the White House in May and called for the protections announced today.

“I think it’s a happy day for many immigrant families across America. I think there will be people crying tears of joy, along with some sighs of relief. This is a major executive action by President Biden and the Hispanic Caucus has been encouraging for months. and advocate for the President and the Administration to provide these protections,” the Congressman said.