Tuesday (June 18) marked a significant shift in U.S. immigration policy as President Biden introduced a programme offering a new path to citizenship for half a million undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens.

This new initiative aims to provide relief to families affected by complex immigration laws.

Marrying a U.S. citizen doesn’t automatically ease the path to legal status. Traditionally, undocumented immigrants must leave the U.S. and wait up to 10 years before returning legally, a process many avoid, leading to prolonged periods of uncertainty.

New path to citizenship unveiled

The new rule allows approximately 500,000 undocumented immigrants and 50,000 minors with U.S. citizen parents to apply for green cards without leaving the country. Successful applicants will also receive a three-year work permit. To qualify, they must:

Prove they have resided in the U.S. for at least 10 years by June 17, 2024; Be legally married to a U.S. citizen; Pose no national security threat and have no prior deportations

This move comes as Biden faces political pressure to manage the surge of migrants at the southern border, a critical issue for Republicans ahead of the November elections.

In a briefing, Biden officials emphasized the president’s commitment to border security while highlighting his efforts to expand lawful pathways and keep families together.

Immigrant rights groups have lauded the announcement. Ashley DeAzevedo, president of American Families United, noted bipartisan support for easing the path to citizenship for those contributing to U.S. society. She believes this initiative will reshape perceptions of Biden as a compassionate leader committed to helping families.

The new rule is expected to face legal challenges and could be reversed by a future administration. The Trump campaign criticized the programme, arguing it would increase migrant crime, burden taxpayers, strain public services, and jeopardize Social Security and Medicare for seniors.

A win-win situation?

Research shows that immigrants have lower crime rates than U.S. citizens, and there’s no evidence the programme will affect seniors’ benefits. Instead, it could bolster the federal tax base as participants gain work authorization.

President Biden’s latest immigration policy underscores his effort to balance border security with humanitarian principles, addressing the needs of undocumented immigrant families while navigating the complex landscape of U.S. immigration politics.


Biden moves to help half a million undocumented people married to citizens

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