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Biden announced new executive order will protect certain noncitizen spouses and children

Newsman: President Biden has announced Tuesday the deportation protections for long-term undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens and quicker approval of work permits for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

More than 1.1 million Americans who fear their undocumented spouses could face deportation.

The president formally announced the action during a White House event Tuesday marking the 12th anniversary of DACA:

President Biden announced these new actions for people who have been here many years to keep American families together and allow more young people to contribute to our economy. 

“This announcement utilizes existing authorities to keep families together”,President Biden said.

The new policies came two weeks after Biden enacted his harshest crackdown on immigration with a partial ban on asylum proceedings at the southern border.

This action will protect approximately half a million spouses of U.S. citizens, and approximately 50,000 noncitizen children under the age of 21 whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen.

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This new process will help certain noncitizen spouses and children apply for lawful permanent residence – status that they are already eligible for – without leaving the country .

“These actions will promote family unity and strengthen our economy, providing a significant benefit to the country and helping U.S. citizens and their noncitizen family members stay together” White house said.

In order to be eligible, noncitizens must – as of June 17, 2024 – have resided in the United States for 10 or more years and be legally married to a U.S. citizen, while satisfying all applicable legal requirements. On average, those who are eligible for this process have resided in the U.S. for 23 years.

Those who are approved after DHS’s case-by-case assessment of their application will be afforded a three-year period to apply for permanent residency. They will be allowed to remain with their families in the United States and be eligible for work authorization for up to three years. This will apply to all married couples who are eligible. 

The initiative  DACA was launched during the Obama administration and was meant to temporarily protect undocumented children brought into the United States without authorization.

The new DACA policy will allow those recipients who have graduated from an accredited university and have an offer by a U.S. employer for a highly skilled job to quickly qualify for one of the existing temporary work visas, such as an H-1B visa.

Nearly 579,000 DACA recipients are  awaiting for  a decision from the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that could deem the program unlawful. The legal dispute is likely to head to the Supreme Court.

Many immigration policy experts have called DACA outdated, because there are now thousands of undocumented people who are not eligible for the program because they were not even born yet. To qualify, an undocumented person needs to have continuously resided in the U.S. since 2007.

The deportation protections to those married to a U.S. citizens are a one-time action expected to allow roughly 500,000 noncitizen spouses and their children to apply for a lawful permanent residence — a green card — under certain requirements.

To qualify, a noncitizen must have resided in the U.S. for 10 years as of Monday, June 17, 2024, and be married to a U.S. citizen since that date as well. That spouse who is a noncitizen also cannot be deemed a security threat.

The Department of Homeland Security will consider those applications, which are expected to be open by the end of summer, on a case-by-case basis executive order says.

This move is also expected to affect roughly 50,000 children who are noncitizens and have an immigrant parent married to a U.S. citizen.

For those children to qualify, they have to be 21 or younger, unmarried “and the marriage between the parents has to have taken place before the child turned 18.”

 More information on the application and eligibility process will be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks.

Under current U.S. immigration law, if a noncitizen enters the country without authorization, they are ineligible for permanent legal status and would be required to leave the U.S. and reenter legally through a green card application by their U.S. spouse, which is a lengthy process that can take years.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees the legal immigration system however, has a similar program that allows noncitizens who are immediate family members of U.S. military service members to obtain green cards without leaving the country.

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