Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Biden will announce deportation protection and work permits for spouses of US citizens

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is planning to announce a sweeping new policy Tuesday that would lift the threat of deportation for tens of thousands of people married to U.S. citizens, an aggressive election-year action on immigration that had been sought by many Democrats.

Biden was hosting a White House event to celebrate an Obama-era directive that offered deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants and will announce the new program then, according to three people briefed on the White House plans. The policy will allow roughly 490,000 spouses of U.S. citizens an opportunity to apply for a “parole in place” program, which would shield them from deportations and offer them work permits if they have lived in the country for at least 10 years, according to two of the people briefed. They all spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the announcement publicly.

The White House on Monday declined to comment on the announcement.

Families who would potentially benefit from Biden’s actions were expected to attend the White House event on Tuesday afternoon

For some time, administration officials have been deliberating various options to offer protections for immigrants who lack legal status in the U.S. but who have longstanding ties — even after the White House crafted a restrictive proposal that essentially halted asylum processing at the U.S-Mexico border.

Biden is invoking an authority known that not only gives deportation protections and work permits, but removes a legal barrier to allow qualifying immigrants to apply for permanent residency and eventually, U.S. citizenship. It’s a power that’s already been used for other categories of immigrants, such as members of the U.S. military or their family members who lack legal status.

“Today, I have spoken about what we need to do to secure the border,” Biden said at a June 4 event at the White House, when he rolled out his order to suspend asylum processing for many migrants arriving now to the U.S. “In the weeks ahead — and I mean the weeks ahead — I will speak to how we can make our immigration system more fair and more just.”

Biden was also expected to announce a policy of making recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program eligible for visas, rather than the temporary work authorization they currently receive, according to two of the people briefed.

In Congress, a Democratic group of lawmakers called the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has advocated for a policy of making graduates of U.S. colleges who came to the country without authorization as children eligible for work visas as well.

The White House on Tuesday afternoon was to mark the 12th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was created by then-President Barack Obama to protect young immigrants who lacked legal status, often known as “dreamers.”

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