Biden announces new policy shielding undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens from deportation

The Biden administration is taking executive action to protect undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens — a move that would protect an estimated 500,000 immigrants from deportation.

The White House announced election year policy Tuesday, billing it as “a new action to keep families together. » NBC News reported that an executive action protecting spouses would likely be announced soon, at the request of immigration advocates and Democratic lawmakers and as President Joe Biden courts Latino voters in crucial battleground states .

Lawmakers have been briefed on the plan and at least some have been invited to the White House to announce it, sources said.

“This is the most important thing since DACA,” a source familiar with the matter, an immigration advocate, said, adding that it was a smart policy move by the Biden administration .

Foreshadowing the likely battles to come around this policy, the White House was keen to emphasize that it had been tough on illegal border crossings and that it had worked to dismantle human smuggling networks.

Biden “believes securing the border is essential,” he said Tuesday in a press release describing the new action.

“He also believes in expanding legal avenues 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.” , indicates the press release.

The action aims to provide a “significant benefit to the country,” by allowing noncitizens who have been in the country for at least 10 years and who are married to a U.S. citizen, as well as their children, to apply for residency permanent without leaving the country. country.

The statement added that spouses eligible to apply have been in the United States for an average of 23 years.

The program would also make it easier for some undocumented immigrants to obtain a green card and move toward U.S. citizenship.

Sources also say undocumented spouses would be allowed to obtain work permits on a case-by-case basis.

The action includes plans to allow DACA recipients who have earned higher education degrees and are seeking employment in the same field to obtain work visas more quickly.

These measures should be challenged in court.

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