• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Biden announces new policy for undocumented Nigerian spouses and others of American citizens

Biden announces new policy for undocumented Nigerian spouses and others of American citizens

President Joe Biden is poised to unveil a new policy aimed at shielding hundreds of thousands of undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens from deportation, as per statements from administration officials.

The new policy targets undocumented spouses who have been in the country for at least 10 years.

These individuals will be granted the ability to work legally in the U.S., a transformative change that provides both security and economic opportunity.

This initiative is the most consequential relief program for undocumented migrants since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was announced by the Obama administration in 2012.

The White House estimates that over 500,000 spouses of U.S. citizens will benefit from this policy.

Additionally, approximately 50,000 young people under 21, whose parent is married to an American citizen, will also be impacted.

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President Biden’s announcement is strategically timed ahead of an event commemorating the 12th anniversary of the DACA program on Tuesday, which protects over 530,000 migrants who entered the U.S. as children, often referred to as “Dreamers” from deportation.

Earlier in June, Biden reiterated his commitment to creating a “more fair and just” immigration system.

This new policy tends to be a tangible step in that direction, addressing immigration, a primary concern for many voters ahead of the presidential election this November.

Senior administration officials outlined that undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens will qualify for the new protections if they have resided in the country for 10 years and were married by June 17.

Eligible individuals will have a three-year window to apply for permanent residency and will be entitled to a three-year work permit.

On average, those who qualify have lived in the U.S. for 23 years, with the majority hailing from Mexico. These individuals will receive “parole in place,” allowing them to stay in the U.S. while their legal status is being adjusted.

The policy has sparked mixed reactions. NumbersUSA, an immigration reform group, denounced the policy as “unconscionable.” James Massa, the group’s chief executive, accused President Biden of overreaching his executive authority and misleading voters and Congress.

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He argued that this policy sends a message of amnesty to those who entered the United States illegally.

Conversely, Alex Cuic, an immigration lawyer and professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, noted that while the action affects a “narrow group,” it represents a significant step for undocumented immigrants facing complex legal hurdles.

Cuic emphasized that this policy helps prevent family separations by allowing spouses to remain in the U.S. while applying for permanent residence.

The application process for this new policy is expected to commence by the end of the summer.

Additionally, the White House plans to streamline the visa process for highly skilled undocumented immigrants who have degrees from U.S. universities or job offers in their fields, including Dreamers.

This announcement follows a recent executive order by President Biden that permits U.S. officials to expedite the removal of migrants entering the country illegally without processing their asylum requests. This measure will be implemented once the daily threshold is met and the border is deemed “overwhelmed.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against this order, arguing that it contravenes U.S. immigration law.