Biden Plans White House Event to Honor Daca, Weighs New Benefits for Undocumented Immigrants

Biden Plans White House Event to Honor Daca, Weighs New Benefits for Undocumented Immigrants (1)

President Joe Biden will host a White House event next week to commemorate an Obama-era directive that provided deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, while his administration considers potential new benefits for others who lack legal status but have long-standing ties to the United States.

According to five people familiar with the discussions, White House officials are close to finalizing a plan that would use Biden’s executive authority to protect spouses of US citizens without legal status from deportation, provide them with work permits, and ease their path to permanent residency and eventually American citizenship.

People claimed those moves may be announced as early as next week, but a White House official cautioned Thursday that no final decisions had been made on what Biden would say if anything. As of late this week, Biden had not been presented with the idea for his final approval, increasing the uncertainty about the timing of any announcement. The president is presently in Italy, attending the Group of Seven summit of the world’s wealthiest countries.

However, as he laid out his command to crack down on asylum applications at the border, which has enraged immigrant rights groups and many Democratic politicians, Biden hinted that he would be announcing additional moves more favorable to the advocates.

“Today, I have spoken about what we need to do to secure the border,” Biden stated at the White House event on June 4. “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.”

To protect Americans’ spouses, the administration is anticipated to adopt a mechanism known as “parole-in-place.” It not only protects qualifying immigrants from deportation and grants them work permits, but it also removes a legal barrier that prohibits them from obtaining a green card and, eventually, US citizenship.

That authority has already been wielded against other categories of immigrants, including members of the United States military and their family members who lack legal status.

According to those briefed on the discussions, White House officials were working on a scheme that would provide parole to spouses of Americans who have lived here for at least five or ten years. The individuals were given anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations., an immigration advocacy group, believes that there are approximately 1.1 million undocumented immigrants married to Americans. However, depending on how the Biden administration drafts the proposal, the real universe of persons who could benefit from the president’s plan is likely to be far smaller.

Advocates were also urging the White House to include benefits for undocumented immigrants who provide caregiving services for American family members, according to two people involved with the conversations, but that option was considered as significantly less likely to be approved at this time. Allowing such caregivers to seek a so-called “cancellation of removal” would have an impact on immigrants, as well as American family members, who have special needs or impairments.

According to During these discussions, the White House has invited lawmakers to an event Tuesday afternoon to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to a source familiar with the situation. The program was launched on June 15, 2012, by then-President Barack Obama to safeguard young immigrants without legal status, also known as “dreamers.”

Although House members will be on recess, White House officials insist attending the event will be useful.

“We’re expecting positive news,” said Rep. Nanette Barragán, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a Democratic organization that has lobbied the White House to take action to help immigrants.

“I think it just says that we value our immigrants and those people who are part of the American fabric,” she stated.

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