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Biden’s New Order Shocks America

In an effort to balance his immigration policy after a stringent border enforcement period, President Biden has announced substantial immigration relief that will allow certain undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens to remain in the country and work legally. This significant development extends a program previously exclusive to military families, broadening its scope in conjunction with the 12th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which will be celebrated later today at the White House with various immigrant and Latino leaders.

This policy shift arrives shortly after the administration tightened asylum regulations at the U.S.-Mexico border, a move that sparked discontent among the same advocacy groups now appeased by this new initiative. Anticipation and anxiety had been building among these groups, balancing dread over heightened border security with hope for this very kind of immigration relief.

Representative Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), a leading voice for pro-immigrant initiatives, remarked, “This is the most noteworthy positive change in immigration policy in over a decade,” highlighting its significance for many families in Illinois where a notable percentage of children have undocumented parents living under the threat of deportation.

The policy, known as ‘parole in place,’ will simplify the application process for work visas, especially for DACA recipients and undocumented college graduates. This regularization process aims to alleviate the risks associated with securing immigration status, which typically requires potentially perilous and disruptive travel abroad.

Under the new rules, eligible immigrants — those married to U.S. citizens or adopted by them, and who have been in the country for at least ten years as of this announcement — can apply for a three-year work permit and deferral from deportation, without leaving the U.S. This change is designed to prevent the family separations and extended absences that currently complicate the application process for permanent residency.

The announcement is expected to impact approximately 500,000 noncitizen spouses and 50,000 noncitizen children. The broader implication of this policy is a more humane and practical approach to immigration that acknowledges the complex realities of mixed-status families and aims to integrate educated and contributing individuals more fully into U.S. society.

As the political landscape reacts to these changes, both praise and criticism are emerging. While some view the policy as a necessary step towards a fairer immigration system, others criticize it as too lenient or insufficient. Despite these divides, the move has galvanized immigrant communities and advocates, who see it as a crucial fight for justice and recognition in the ongoing debate over immigration reform in the United States.

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