Biden Admin Pushing Path to Citizenship for Half a Million Immigrants With US Citizen Spouses

AP Photo/Christian Torrez

The Biden administration has announced an immigration initiative that seems a lot like they are attempting a balancing act. The plan, announced on Tuesday, provides an expedited path to citizenship for immigrants who are married to an American citizen or are the child of such an immigrant, and who have been living in the United States for ten years. The plan could potentially affect more than half a million such immigrants.


The White House announced Tuesday that the Biden administration will, in the coming months, allow certain spouses of U.S. citizens without legal status to apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship. The move could affect upwards of half a million immigrants, according to senior administration officials.

To qualify, an immigrant must have lived in the United States for 10 years as of Monday and be married to a U.S. citizen. If a qualifying immigrant’s application is approved, he or she would have three years to apply for a green card and receive a temporary work permit and be shielded from deportation in the meantime.

About 50,000 noncitizen children with a parent who is married to a U.S. citizen could also potentially qualify for the same process, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the proposal on the condition of anonymity. There is no requirement on how long the couple must have been married, and no one becomes eligible after Monday. That means immigrants who reach that 10-year mark after Monday will not qualify for the program, according to the officials.

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While this announcement isn't part of the ongoing border crisis, as it doesn't offer a path to citizenship for the millions swarming across the southern border illegally but rather to the spouses of American citizens, it can't really be divorced from the Biden administration's border crisis. This action isn't unreasonable in and of itself; these are the spouses of American citizens, after all. But it's part of a balancing act, coming as it does on the heels of what the Biden administration claims is a "crackdown" on illegal immigration.


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Here's where that balancing act comes in:

Tuesday’s announcement comes two weeks after Biden unveiled a sweeping crackdown at the U.S.-Mexico border that effectively halted asylum claims for those arriving between officially designated ports of entry. Immigrant-rights groups have sued the Biden administration over that directive, which a senior administration official said Monday had led to fewer border encounters between ports.

Every political figure and every presidential administration walks a similar tightrope from time to time. But this one threatens national security; again, we don't know who many of these people are, why they are here, where they are going, or what they intend to do when they get there. 

This announcement, at least in part, is a distraction. It's a distraction from the utter failure of the administration to establish some modicum of control over the borders, especially the southern border. The Associated Press, in the acknowledgment of the "sweeping crackdown" - it isn't - tacitly admits as much.

Come November, though, most voters won't notice this attempt to thread the immigration needle, nor will they remember the Biden administration's sweeping crackdown that isn't. What they will notice, in fact what they are already noticing, are the floods of people crossing the border illegally and with impunity, being processed and released into the United States. They will notice, and are already noticing, these same illegal immigrants being housed and fed at taxpayer expense


This will be one of the major issues of this election. Along with the economy, it's already ranking in the top two or three issues in most polls. And it's not an issue that the Biden administration can claim to have handled with any degree of effectiveness.



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