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  • Writer's pictureKaren Young

Big win for immigrants, good strategy for Biden

Welcome to Winning Wednesday!

The American Immigration Council described the effect of President Biden’s pair of actions yesterday as “providing immigration relief to [hundreds of] thousands of deeply-rooted immigrants in the United States.”  This is a huge win for undocumented people who have lived here for years, and a rare bright spot in America’s dysfunctional and cruel immigration system. 


According to Politico, the action “had been a top ask of many progressives and members of the Hispanic Caucus,” including US Rep. and Squad member Delia Ramirez (pictured above with her husband and dog), who appeared with Biden for the announcement.  She has been open about the fact that her husband is undocumented and a DACA recipient.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get!


Biden feels that many Americans are willing to support a pathway to citizenship for longtime residents, while opposing new immigrants coming in.   He’s doing both, hoping that this strategy will seem both more realistic and more humane than Trump’s idea of mass deportations, and will shore up his support among Latinos and progressives.  If it’s marketed properly, I think he has a good shot here to blunt Trump’s appeal on this issue.


It’s been painful to hear stories like this one, about a restaurant owner in South Bend, Indiana, who after many years here and constant efforts to move his citizenship process along, was suddenly deported and torn away from his American wife, his three children, who are US citizens, and his employees, who were suddenly jobless.  It’s been hard to see who benefits from the old policy.  You might think that marrying an American brings an immediate path to citizenship, but it doesn’t.  As it stands now, undocumented spouses are expected to leave the country to apply, and may be never be allowed to return.


Biden's first action is a program which will offer relief to undocumented people married to US citizens and who have lived in the US for at least 10 years. Through “Parole in Place,” which has been used to provide relief to family members of military personnel, the administration will provide some mixed-status families with a streamlined path to permanent status, and undocumented spouses with the right to work legally. The White House estimates that over 500,000 people could benefit, and that the average applicant has resided in the United States for 23 years.  


The second action would ease the process for DACA beneficiaries (and potentially other Dreamers) to access high-skilled employment visas.

Congratulations to all!


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