Pres. Biden: “New Actions to Keep Families Together”

June 18, 2024

This new process will help certain noncitizen spouses and children apply for lawful permanent residence – status that they are already eligible for – without leaving the country.

The White House announcing a new proposal that would allow spouses and children of American citizens who are in the country illegally special protections to remain in the country to pursue legal status.

Why It Matters: Security at the U.S. border and a cohesive policy about how to manage those who enter/remain in the country without legal status remain a major challenge for both Democrats and Republicans, especially during an election year. The President recently announced executive action that would prevent those who enter the country illegally from pursuing asylum claims; this policy is being challenged in court. Conversely, the policy announced today would make it easier for spouses and children without legal status (regardless of how they entered the country) to pursue a legal path without having to leave the country. The White House says it could impact “approximately half a million spouses of U.S. citizens, and approximately 50,000 noncitizen children under the age of 21 whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen.”

This new proposal is somewhat reminiscent of DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – a policy announced under the Obama administration (of which Pres. Biden served as vice president) that protects children/adults who entered the country illegally as minors from deportation. President Biden will mark the 12-year anniversary of DACA today at the White House and is expected to speak on this new action.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces New Actions to Keep Families Together (White House)

by Jenna Lee,