Biden Celebrates DACA’s 12th Anniversary By Moving To Protect Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens From Deportation 

The Biden Administration is making strides to protect undocumented spouses of American citizens from deportation. 

The announcement was made on June 18—the 12th anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—and would shield approximately 500,000 immigrants. It is designed as a “new action to keep families together.”

There has been speculation about the executive action circulating for weeks amid a call for action from immigration advocates and Democratic lawmakers. 

Critical in the upcoming election, President Joe Biden has been courting Latino voters in crucial battleground states – like Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia. The action is deemed to provide a “significant benefit to the country” by allowing non-citizens residing in the states for at least ten years and married to a U.S. citizen and their children to apply for permanent residence without leaving the country. 

While the White House has been brutal on border crossing and working to eliminate people-smuggling networks, the President, in a statement, said he believes in the power of keeping families together.

“He also believes 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,” the statement read.

The program also eases the processes for undocumented immigrants to retrieve a green card and secure the path to citizenship, allowing them to live and work legally.

Biden’s decision was met with praise and criticism from Democrats, Republicans, and immigration advocates. An anonymous advocate called the move the “biggest thing since DACA.” Todd Schulte, president of immigration-advocacy group, reacted to the announcement by saying the President can now “fulfill his promise to protect those harmed by our broken immigration laws.” 

“We encourage the president to act boldly and with the confidence of knowing Americans across the political spectrum support these responsible protections for individuals who have lived in our communities and proven their contributions to our country for years,” he said, according to CNN.

Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-IL) – whose husband is a DACA recipient – welcomed the news but added “more work to do.” “There are still hundreds of thousands of people still in the shadows who are going to watch the news today and ask themselves, does this finally mean that I finally get out of the shadows? And for many, not yet,” Ramirez said.

GOP Whip John Thune (R-ND) argued that the administration is creating more “pull factors” in the planned immigration action. “They are increasing the incentive for people to come here illegally,” Thune said. 

“I am sure they’ll be challenged.”

Other lawmakers declined to comment on their official opinions, but Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), who voted against the bipartisan border security bill in early 2024, said a bipartisan bill would be a better solution. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) shared similar sentiments. “I do not know enough about this yet,” he said. 

“A good idea is that Congress finally passes the bipartisan border bill to secure the border and to pass an immigration bill. And presidents of both parties have failed, and I’m hopeful that we will do that and make a real difference,” he added.

The Biden Administration says they will work through the employment visa process for people who have graduated from college and have a high-skilled job offer. However, sources say undocumented spouses would be granted work permits on a case-by-case basis.

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