Biden to Allow Hundreds of Thousands Gain US Citizenship

United States President Joe Biden has unveiled one of the largest immigration regularisation programmes in recent history, offering a pathway to citizenship to hundreds of thousands of immigrants without legal status in the country.

The new measures, announced on Tuesday, will allow some undocumented spouses of US citizens to apply for permanent residence — and eventually citizenship — without having to leave the country.

The move will affect more than 500,000 spouses of US citizens. About 50,000 noncitizen children under age 21 — whose parents are married to a US citizen — will also be eligible.

In a White House speech, Biden pitched the new executive action as a “common-sense fix” to a “cumbersome” system already in place.

“Under the current process, undocumented spouses of citizens must go back to their home country, for example to Mexico, to fill out paperwork to obtain long-term legal status,” he explained.

“They have to leave their families in America with no assurance that they will be allowed back in the United States. So they stay in America, but in the shadows, living in constant fear of deportation without the ability to legally work.”

The new measures, Biden added, would “fix” the problem without “any fundamental change in our immigration law”.

Tuesday’s announcement comes as immigration continues to be a central — and divisive — issue in the lead-up to presidential elections in November. Continue

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