Source: AP

Biden to Aid Undocumented Immigrants, Shield Many From Deportation

The new policy will save over 500,000 from deportation and ease the process of obtaining legal residency by undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens

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by Ìbùkúnolúwa Dàda

President Joe Biden has announced a new policy granting legal protection for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants living in the United States but married to American citizens.

Under this new program – the White House Relief Program – approximately 500,000 undocumented spouses who have been in the country for at least 10 years will be shielded from deportation and given a pathway to citizenship and legal work authorization. Additionally, around 50,000 children of these undocumented spouses who became stepchildren to U.S. citizens will also be eligible for residency benefits.

The policy aims to resolve a longstanding issue where undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens were required to leave the country and return to their home nations to complete the process for a green card, even if they were already married to an American. The new program will allow them to remain in the U.S. while pursuing legal permanent residency status.

Addressing the nation at the White House, Biden stated, “These couples have been raising families, sending their kids to church and school, paying taxes, contributing to our country. They’re living in the United States constantly with fear and uncertainty. We can fix that.”

While the benefits will not take effect immediately, the Biden administration expects the program to begin by the end of the summer, after which eligible individuals can apply.

Biden framed the policy as a “commonsense fix” to a “cumbersome, risky” system that separates families. He emphasized that it would not benefit recent arrivals but rather those who have been in the country for decades and are deeply rooted in their communities.

The move has drawn criticism from allies of former President Donald Trump, who accused Biden of being weak on border security and granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. However, the White House stressed that the president believes in securing the border while expanding lawful pathways and keeping families together.

As Biden courts Latino voters ahead of the presidential election, this policy represents one of the most expansive actions to protect immigrants since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was enacted 12 years ago to protect those who came to the U.S. as children.

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