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Biden to Unveil Citizenship Pathway for Undocumented Immigrants Married to U.S. Citizens

June 18, 2024




In a landmark move aimed at addressing long-standing immigration issues, President Joe Biden is set to unveil a new program that will provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens. The announcement is scheduled for a White House event on Tuesday, coinciding with the 12-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

A source familiar with the president’s plans revealed that this new initiative will utilize executive authority to bypass the current legal barriers faced by undocumented spouses of American citizens. Traditionally, while spouses of Americans have been eligible for citizenship, those who entered the U.S. illegally have faced significant obstacles. Under current law, undocumented immigrants must leave the U.S. and remain abroad for a decade before they can qualify for legal residency and, eventually, citizenship—regardless of their marital status to a U.S. citizen.

The new program leverages a mechanism known as parole, which permits the government to temporarily set aside an individual’s illegal entry into the country. This measure allows those eligible to receive work permits and residency status without the need to leave the U.S. and endure the prolonged wait abroad.

With this change, undocumented immigrants married to Americans who obtain relief through parole will be on a new, more accessible path to becoming permanent residents. Over time, they will be able to apply for U.S. citizenship, with their American spouses acting as sponsors.

The announcement will be a significant complement to the DACA program, which protects certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and allows them to work legally. By introducing this new pathway, the Biden administration aims to further humanize and rectify aspects of the immigration system that have long been criticized for being overly punitive and disruptive to family unity.

This move is expected to face both praise and opposition. Advocates for immigrant rights will likely see it as a long-overdue correction, while critics may argue that it could incentivize illegal immigration. Nonetheless, the administration is positioning this program as a compassionate and pragmatic solution to a complex issue that affects countless families across the nation.



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