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New Biden Policy Shields U.S. Citizen Spouses from Deportation

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WASHINGTON DC, USA – In a significant election-year policy shift, the Biden administration announced Tuesday, June 18, 2024, a new executive action aimed at protecting undocumented spouses of American citizens from deportation.

This measure is expected to shield approximately 500,000 immigrants, marking a major step in immigration reform.

The White House framed the policy as a vital effort to “keep families together,” aligning with President Joe Biden’s broader immigration agenda.

NBC News had earlier reported the impending executive action following advocacy from immigration proponents and Democratic lawmakers, especially as Biden seeks to strengthen support among Latino voters in key battleground states.

“This is the biggest thing since DACA,” said a source familiar with the matter, an immigration advocate, emphasizing the strategic significance of the move by the Biden administration.

The White House emphasised its ongoing efforts to secure the border and dismantle human-smuggling networks.

In a press release outlining the new action, the administration underscored the importance of border security while also highlighting the need for compassionate immigration policies.

“Biden believes that securing the border is essential,” the statement read. “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 executive action allows non-citizens who have resided in the U.S. for at least 10 years and are married to a U.S. citizen, along with their children, to apply for permanent residence without the requirement to leave the country.

This provision is expected to deliver a “significant benefit to the country” by integrating these long-term residents more fully into American society.

The statement noted that the eligible spouses have lived in the U.S. for an average of 23 years.

Additionally, the program will facilitate easier access to green cards and a path to U.S. citizenship for some undocumented immigrants.

It also includes provisions for granting work permits to undocumented spouses on a case-by-case basis.

Further supporting young immigrants, the action will expedite work visas for DACA recipients who have earned higher education degrees and are seeking employment in their field of study.

Despite the positive reception from many immigration advocates, the new measures are anticipated to face legal challenges.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, acknowledged the potential for lawsuits but stressed the necessity of legislative action.

“The passage of legislation would be the only action that will fully allow these deserving individuals to put down roots, start families, further their education, and continue contributing to our society without fear of deportation,” Durbin stated, noting the unlikelihood of such legislation given Republican opposition to previous immigration reforms.

As the Biden administration moves forward with this executive action, the political and legal landscapes will undoubtedly shape the future of immigration policy in the United States.

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