President Biden readies protections for some undocumented migrants



By Eric Martin and Ellen M. Gilmer

President Joe Biden is planning an executive action as soon as next week that would protect certain undocumented immigrants from deportation, according to people familiar with the matter.

The new measure would allow spouses of US citizens who lack legal status to remain in the country and seek authorization to work, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss the plans before they are announced. Some who receive relief could eventually gain a path to US citizenship under the powers Biden may use.

Biden is considering an announcement as early as next Tuesday, according to the people. On that day, the White House is planning an event to celebrate the anniversary of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, that provided deportation reprieves and work permits to hundreds of thousands of migrants who were brought to the US illegally as minors.

PBS NewsHour reported earlier on the plans.

No final decisions have been made about additional actions on immigration that could be taken, according to a White House official.

“The administration continues to explore a series of policy options and we remain committed to taking action to address our broken immigration system,” said White House spokesman Angelo Fernandez Hernandez.

The action, if taken, would represent an olive branch to Latinos, immigrant-rights advocates and progressives who were frustrated by Biden’s decision last week to act alone to curb asylum claims at the US southern border.

That move was designed to blunt criticism from Republicans who have blamed the president’s immigration policies for the massive influx of migrants at border. Yet it also alienated crucial parts of Biden’s coalition whose support he needs in the November presidential election against Donald Trump.

“In the weeks ahead, I will speak to how we can make our immigration system more fair and more just,” Biden said as he announced his asylum crackdown.

One avenue the White House has explored to provide relief to spouses is known as parole in place, which allows a person who came to the US without authorization to remain in the country, according to the people. Spouses, parents and children of military service members are allowed to apply for the status in one-year increments.

Parole recipients could become eligible for permanent legal US residence and eventually citizenship if they decide to adjust their immigration status. That process would take years and would require they meet certain qualifications.

It’s unclear how many undocumented spouses of US citizens would benefit under the action Biden is preparing. Immigration advocates have estimated there are roughly 1 million people without legal immigration status who are married to American citizens but the number of people eligible under the Biden order is expected to be significantly smaller.



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