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US New Policy Grants Legal Status To Thousands Of Undocumented Spouses

Unites States President, Joe Biden is set to announce a new policy that will grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of undocumented spouses of US citizens, protecting them from deportation.

The policy will apply to those who have been in the country for at least 10 years and will allow them to work in the US legally.

According to the administration officials, over 500,000 spouses of US citizens will benefit from this policy, in addition to 50,000 young people under 21 whose parent is married to an American citizen.

The policy is the most significant relief program for undocumented migrants already in the US since the Obama administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012.

To qualify, undocumented spouses must have lived in the country for 10 years and been married as of June 17. They will have three years to apply for permanent residency and will be eligible for a three-year work permit.

The White House believes that those eligible for the process have been in the US for an average of 23 years, with a majority being born in Mexico.

Critics argue that the policy is an overreach of executive authority and violates US immigration law.

NumbersUSA, an immigration reform group, in a statement by the Chief Executive, James Massa, referred to the policy as “unconscionable”. He said:

“Rather than stopping the worst border crisis in history, President Biden has overreached his executive authority to use an unconstitutional process, circumventing voters and their elected representatives in Congress, to send a message that amnesty is available to those who enter illegally into the United States.”

However, immigration lawyers and advocates welcome the move as a start towards addressing the complex issues faced by undocumented immigrants.

Alex Cuic, an immigration lawyer and professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, told the BBC: “A good majority of them [would have] left the country in order to come back lawfully. It’s like they physically enter the US, but their immigration ‘soul’ doesn’t come with them.”

The application process is expected to open by the end of summer, and the White House is also planning to ease and speed up the visa process for highly skilled undocumented immigrants.

At the time of the announcement, US President Biden urged those who consider the measure “too strict” to “be patient”.

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

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