How Biden’s New Immigration Policy Works - The World News

How Biden’s New Immigration Policy Works

President Biden’s new immigration policy protects some 500,000 people who are married to U.S. citizens from deportation and gives them a pathway to citizenship.

The election-year move comes just two weeks after Mr. Biden imposed a major crackdown at the U.S.-Mexico border, cutting off access to asylum for people who crossed into the United States illegally.

The policy announced on Tuesday is aimed at people who have been living in the United States for more than a decade and have built their lives and families here.

Here is how it works:

Marrying an American citizen generally provides a pathway to U.S. citizenship. But people who crossed the southern border illegally — rather than arriving in the country with a visa — must return to their home countries to complete the process for a green card, something that can take years. The new program allows families to remain in the country while they pursue legal status.

There are roughly 1.1 million undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens in the United States, according to, an immigration advocacy group, but not all of them are eligible for the program.

The spouses must have lived in the United States for 10 years and have been married to an American citizen as of June 17. They cannot have a criminal record. Officials estimate that the policy will provide legal status and protections for about 500,000 people. The benefits would also extend to the roughly 50,000 children of undocumented spouses who became stepchildren to American citizens.

Biden administration officials said they expected the program to start by the end of the summer. Those eligible will then be able to apply for the benefits.

Mr. Biden is trying to strike a tricky balance on immigration, which is a serious political vulnerability for him. Polls show Americans want tougher policies. Just two weeks ago, Mr. Biden announced a crackdown on asylum at the southern border.

His new policy, giving hundreds of thousands of immigrants new legal protections, is a way for him to answer the calls from the progressive base of the Democratic Party, which has accused the White House of betraying campaign promises to enact a more humane approach to immigrants.

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