Official: illegal immigrants married to Americans will be given green cards - ForumDaily
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Official: illegal immigrants married to Americans will be given green cards

The Biden administration on June 18 announced a program that will allow some spouses and children of undocumented U.S. citizens to apply for a green card without leaving the United States. Such a radical step could provide protection from deportation to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, reports CNN.

Application for a green card on a desk top.

Photo: iStock.com/KLH49

This decision will provide legal status and protection to approximately 500 U.S. families and approximately 000 non-citizen immigrant children under age 50 whose parents are married to U.S. citizens. It is one of the federal government's largest programs to help undocumented immigrants since then-President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 000.

The President officially announced the move at a White House event on June 18 marking the 12th anniversary of DACA.

“Today is a good day,” Biden said during his speech.

Solution Details

Under current federal law, an undocumented person who enters the United States and marries a U.S. citizen must first ask for a password before applying for legal residency. This process requires people to leave the country if they were there illegally. It disrupts their careers and families, and creates uncertainty about whether they will be allowed to return to the country.

The new decision allows such spouses to apply for permanent residency without having to leave the United States. It's a key change that the Biden administration says will keep families together.

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“It's about family unity. This is the value of our country. We will benefit greatly from this. We will preserve the integrity of the families who have contributed so much to this country in so many ways,” said Homeland Security Commissioner Alejandro Mayorkas.

How to participate in the program

To be eligible for the program, a person must have lived in the United States for at least 10 years and be legally married to a U.S. citizen. Applications will begin at the end of summer.

Legal permanent residence, known as a green card, allows immigrants to live and work legally in the United States. Green card holders cannot vote in US federal elections.

Reaction

The new decision, as well as the current president's immigration policies more broadly, are likely to be topics debates next week between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Biden said on June 18 that he was "not interested in playing politics" at the border, but still took the opportunity to criticize his predecessor's policies.

“When he was president, he separated families and children at the border. And now he is proposing to tear spouses and children from their families, homes, communities and place them in detention camps. It’s hard to believe that he’s talking about this openly,” Biden emphasized.

Immigration advocacy groups welcomed news of the White House's decision.

“By removing the barriers that prevent spouses from remaining with their families, he can deliver on his promise to protect those harmed by the violation of our immigration laws,” explained Todd Schulte, director of the immigration advocacy group FWD.us. “We call on the president to act boldly and with confidence.” Americans across the political spectrum support this responsible defense of the people who have lived in our communities and proven their contributions to our country for years.”

According to the Migration Policy Institute, the change in status could affect up to 550 people. The new permit will allow these people to seek better-paying jobs and bring significant economic benefits.

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Leading Senate Republicans sharply criticized Biden ahead of the announcement. They accused the administration of creating additional “pull factors” for illegal immigrants.

“The White House is encouraging people to come here illegally,” said Republican Rep. John Thune.

Sen. Thom Tillis, another Republican who has worked on immigration issues in the Senate, said the best solution would be to pass a bipartisan bill. Earlier this year, Tillis voted against a bipartisan border security bill.

Democratic Rep. Delia Ramirez of Illinois, whose husband is a DACA recipient, acknowledged the executive action was welcome news. According to her, “there is still a lot of work to be done.”

In addition, Biden announced on June 18 that his administration will make it easier for people who have graduated from college and have a high-skill job offer to obtain a work visa.

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In the U.S. green card
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