Posted on June 18, 2024

Biden Gives Legal Status to Immigrant Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Michelle Hackman, Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2024

President Biden announced a new immigration program Tuesday that provides a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the country illegally who are married to U.S. citizens.

Biden plans to promote the announcement at the White House alongside members of Congress, immigration advocates and U.S. citizens who, because of arcane immigration rules, haven’t been able to sponsor their spouses for green cards.

The program has the potential to benefit immigrants who have been living in the country at least a decade, offering them work permits, deportation protections—and a route for them to apply for green cards, which is the pathway to citizenship.

The application process is expected to open by the end of the summer, an administration official said. To qualify, immigrants must have been in the U.S. for at least 10 years and married as of Monday.

The program’s size would make it one of the largest immigration initiatives started in recent decades, rivaled only by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that former President Barack Obama created to benefit Dreamers in 2012. {snip}


Republicans attacked the idea as a form of mass amnesty. “Biden has created another invitation for illegal immigration through his mass amnesty order,” said Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for former President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Biden’s new program is underpinned by a provision of immigration law known as parole in place, which essentially allows the government to “admit” these immigrants legally, overriding their illegal entry. That makes it much easier to apply for a green card and can’t easily be undone by Trump should he be elected to a second term. {snip}