Biden announces sweeping protections for migrant spouses of US citizens


President Biden on Tuesday is announcing new rules aimed to protect the migrant spouses of U.S. citizens from deportation.

The Department of Homeland Security will implement a new policy to allow some migrants to apply for lawful permanent resident status, including the non-citizen spouses and children of lawful U.S. permanent residents or citizens, the administration explained.

The White House said it expected the policy to offer protection to about half a million American families, which would include roughly 50,000 under the age of 21 who are married to or children of a U.S. citizen.

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President Joe Biden speaks at Abbotts Creek Community Center during an event to promote his economic agenda in Raleigh, North Carolina, on January 18, 2024.  (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

A White House fact sheet provided to Fox News Digital on the plan laid out the eligibility requirements for the new rules, including that spouses of Americans must have resided in the U.S. for 10 years or more and be legally married to a U.S. citizen while satisfying other immigration requirements. Those who are approved under the program would be able to apply for permanent U.S. residency after a three-year period while also being eligible for work authorization in the U.S. for up to three years.

The president’s new rules also would ease the visa process for U.S. college graduates, including recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), to stay in the U.S. if they received a degree from a U.S. educational institution and have an offer of employment from a U.S.-based company.

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 US President Joe Biden speaks with US Customs and Border Protection officers as he visits the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, on January 8, 2023. (JIM WATSON/AFP)

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Asked if the new polices would apply to those who have entered the U.S. illegally, a White House spokesperson said the rules would apply to “individuals who are, eligible under existing U.S law to, be able to adjust their status.

“What we are announcing are essentially streamlined processes,” the spokesperson said, adding that the administration was attempting to create a “streamlined processes” that would “ensure some predictability” for those that are eligible for permanent resident status.

Biden will also continue to respond to the current crisis at the border, where the administration plans to “surge resources” and work with international partners to reduce the flow of arrivals into the United States, the White House said.

The White House also made clear that migrants posing a threat to national security or public safety would not be eligible for protection under the new rules, noting that DHS would remove such individuals or refer them to other agencies for further vetting.

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A family of five claiming to be from Guatemala and a man stating he was from Peru, in pink shirt, walk through the desert after crossing the border wall in the Tucson Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Lukeville, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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“President Biden believes that securing the border is essential,” a White House spokesperson said of the announcement. “He also belies in expanding lawful pathways and keeping families together, and that immigrants who have been in the United States for decades, paying taxes and contributing to their communities, are part of the social fabric of our country.” 



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