President Biden announced plans for a new policy that would make certain undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens who are longtime residents eligible for a path to lawful permanent residency from within the U.S. and up to three years of parole and work authorization. The administration also announced other forthcoming actions to make it easier for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries to obtain a temporary work visa.

Key Points:

  • The Department of Homeland Security will establish a new process to consider applications on a case-by-case basis. To be considered eligible, an individual must:
    • Be present in the U.S. without admission or parole;
    • Have been continuously present in the U.S. for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024; and
    • Have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024.
  • If their application for parole in place is approved, the undocumented immigrant would have three years to apply for a green card and receive a temporary work permit. A DHS fact sheet provides an overview of the plans.
  • An estimated 500,000 spouses and 50,000 children are expected to be eligible, enabling these noncitizens to apply for lawful permanent residence without having to leave the United States. Currently, even though spouses of U.S. citizens are eligible for permanent residence as immediate relatives, those who entered the U.S. unlawfully must leave the country and risk being subject to the 10-year bar under immigration law.
  • Biden also announced plans for a streamlined process allowing certain individuals, including DACA beneficiaries, who earned U.S. degrees in higher education and have high-skilled job offers to more quickly receive work visas.

BAL Analysis: While this announcement outlines the administration’s plans to protect undocumented spouses and certain Dreamers, the specific details about how the processes will be implemented are still forthcoming. It is anticipated that the Biden administration will face court challenges.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group.

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