Biden announces protection against deportation for some illegal immigrants 

President Joe Biden speaks in Washington on April 10, 2024. Photo by Madalina Vasiliu 
President Joe Biden speaks in Washington on April 10, 2024. Photo by Madalina Vasiliu 

By Zachary Stieber 
Contributing Writer 

President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced that his administration will not deport many illegal immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens or whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen. 

Approximately 500,000 spouses of U.S. citizens, as well as about 50,000 children, will be shielded from deportation and given the ability to gain legal status without leaving the United States, the White House said. 

The new process requires illegal immigrant adults to have lived in the United States for at least 10 years as of Monday and to be married to a U.S. citizen. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is managing the program. 

Biden planned to mark the program on Tuesday afternoon during an event celebrating the 12th anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy implemented under President Barack Obama’s administration while Biden was vice president. 

The policy shields illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation and enables them to legally work in the United States. 

As of Sept. 30, 2023, there were 544,690 immigrants with protection under the program. 

The new process “will promote family unity and strengthen our economy, providing a significant benefit to the country and helping U.S. citizens and their noncitizen family members stay together,” the White House said in a statement. 

Typically, people who enter the country illegally must leave and obtain legal status before re-entering the United States. 

Illegal immigration has spiked under Biden, with 2.4 million encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2023 alone. On June 4, the Democrat signed an order that suspended asylum requests once the average number of daily encounters with illegal immigrants at the southern border exceeds 2,500. However, during that announcement, he hinted at additional actions that would assist illegal immigrants. 

“In the weeks ahead — and I mean the weeks ahead — I will speak to how we can make our immigration system more fair and more just,” he said at the time. 

The requirements for the new program mean that it will apply to people who are embedded in communities across the nation. On average, those eligible for the process have resided in the United States for 23 years, according to the White House. 

“President Biden believes that securing the border is essential. 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,” according to the White House statement. 

The president also said that his administration is making it easier for illegal immigrants who received protection under DACA, earned a college degree, and received an offer of employment from a U.S. business to obtain work visas. 

The announcement quickly drew praise from some, who said the program would be welcome news to those affected. 

“An estimated 55,000 immigrants in the Houston area are married to U.S. citizens and many of them will now be able to live, work and raise a family without the fear of deportation,” Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, said in a statement. 

Others decried the move. 

Stephen Miller, who was a top adviser on immigration during the Trump administration, described it on the social media platform X as an “unconstitutional amnesty to illegal aliens.” 

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that the program would incentivize more illegal immigration, and be subject to legal challenges. 

Former President Donald Trump said on his Truth Social platform on Monday that he oversaw a safe border but that the situation was “ruined” by Biden. He vowed to correct the situation if he is elected in November. 

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