Biden Strikes Again: Executive Actions Favoring Immigrant Families

Andrey_Popov /
Andrey_Popov /

The Biden administration can’t seem to help itself when it comes to making a mess out of our immigration system. This Tuesday, they plan to announce an executive action that allows certain undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for lawful permanent residency without leaving the country. Yes, you heard that right. Instead of dealing with the illegal immigration crisis at the border, Biden is throwing an election-year bone to immigration activists and progressives.

This new policy will provide legal status and protections for about 500,000 American families and roughly 50,000 non-citizen children of immigrants under 21 whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen. It’s one of the most significant relief programs for undocumented immigrants since Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012.

The goal? Appeal to key Latino constituencies in battleground states like Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia is crucial for Biden’s chances in the next election. This move seems like a desperate attempt to appease immigration advocates who have been fuming over Biden’s recent steps to limit asylum processing at the southern border.

Biden is expected to make the formal announcement during a White House event marking the 12th anniversary of DACA. Under current federal law, an undocumented person who marries a U.S. citizen must request parole before applying for legal residency, often requiring them to leave the country. This can disrupt careers and families and create uncertainty about reentry.

But Biden’s action changes the game. Now, those spouses can apply for residency without leaving the United States—a significant shift that the administration argues will keep families together.

According to a White House fact sheet, applicants must have lived in the U.S. for at least ten years and be legally married to a U.S. citizen to qualify. The application process is set to open by the end of the summer. Obtaining a green card will allow these immigrants to live and work legally in the U.S.

This executive action and Biden’s overall immigration policy are expected to be hot topics in the upcoming debate with his 2024 rival, former President Donald Trump. The announcement allows Biden to contrast his policies with Trump’s stricter immigration measures. But it also will enable Trump to accuse Biden of offering amnesty to undocumented immigrants.

Biden hinted at this move last week, addressing immigration activists who were criticizing his earlier actions. “For those who say the steps I’ve taken are too strict, I say to you—be patient,” Biden said. “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.”

Immigration advocacy groups are, of course, thrilled. Todd Schulte, president of, praised Biden for removing barriers that prevent spouses from staying with their families. “We encourage the president to act boldly and with the confidence of knowing Americans across the political spectrum support these responsible protections for individuals who have lived in our communities and proven their contributions to our country for years,” Schulte said.

Experts note that these individuals are already eligible for green cards because of their marital status. The critical change is that they can now apply from within the U.S. Previously, they had to apply from outside the country, which could mean staying out of the U.S. for ten years if they had been here unlawfully.

This change could impact up to 550,000 individuals and potentially boost the economy by allowing them to seek higher-wage jobs. “When you’re unauthorized, it freezes you in the underground economy,” said Muzaffar Chishti, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute. These are people who have suppressed potential who will be free to work anywhere they want.”

Leading Senate Republicans are not impressed. Republican Whip John Thune accused the administration of creating more “pull factors” that incentivize illegal immigration. “They are increasing the incentive for people to come here illegally,” Thune said. “I am sure they’ll be challenged.”

Senator Thom Tillis, another Republican with experience in immigration issues, criticized the executive action, suggesting that a bipartisan bill would be a better solution. Interestingly, Tillis voted against a bipartisan border security bill earlier this year.

In addition to the new immigration policy, Biden is expected to announce measures to facilitate the employment visa process for college graduates with high-skilled job offers. But at the end of the day, the question remains: is Biden’s latest move a step toward a fairer immigration system, or just another recipe for chaos? Only time will tell.