Biden Seeks To Relax Visa Rules In Wake Of Crackdown On Illegal Border Crossers

President Joe Biden revealed on Tuesday a new prospective citizenship option for immigrants married to US citizens, balancing a recent crackdown on illegal border crossings in a bid to thread a delicate pre-election political needle.

The Biden administration has struggled to address immigration, a contentious issue among many Americans ahead of the November presidential election.

The Democrat is attempting to be harder on illegal migrants while distinguishing himself from Donald Trump, whose attempt to reclaim the White House is mainly focused on portraying the country as under attack by what he terms a migrant “invasion.”

Republicans instantly denounced Biden’s conduct, while immigration reform campaigners applauded it.

The new rules will make the procedure easier for people who currently qualify for permanent residence by eliminating the obligation to leave the country as part of the application process.

The new regulations would apply to anyone who have been in the nation for at least ten years and married a US citizen before June 17, 2024, which the administration estimates to be half a million people.

In addition, approximately 50,000 stepchildren of US citizens would be eligible.

Those who are approved will be awarded work authorization and the freedom to stay in the United States for up to three years while applying for the coveted green card. This would allow them to later apply for full citizenship.

“What we are announcing are potentially streamlined processes… (to) minimize the bureaucracy, minimize the hardship that having to leave the country creates,” a senior administration official told reporters ahead of the announcement.

However, “only Congress can deliver… comprehensive reform of our immigration and asylum laws,” another official added.

Activists celebrate

Republicans slammed the new rules.

Far-right House member Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed Biden “wrote a vote-buying free citizenship executive order.”

Congressman Josh Brecheen of Oklamoma stated, “With the stroke of a pen, President Biden is now shielding 550,000 illegal aliens from deportation.” This is all done to placate their family members in the hopes of gaining their support in the future election.”

But groups advocating for undocumented spouses of US citizens to obtain work licenses applauded Biden’s decision.

“President Biden’s action to extend work permits for long-term immigrant spouses is morally right, economically sound, and politically smart,” said Rebecca Shi, executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans support these humane and common-sense steps, and it will directly improve the lives of more than 10 million American citizens who have an undocumented family member,” she stated. “Today, those families, and the advocates fighting on their behalf, can breathe a huge sigh of relief.”

At the same time, Biden is attempting to address broad worries that illegal immigration has spiraled out of control.

A prior, bipartisan immigration proposal proposed by Biden in Congress would have implemented the tightest laws in decades, but it broke apart when Republicans walked away — under pressure from Trump, whose campaign relies on portraying Biden as failing on the issue.

Biden then issued an executive order closing the border to asylum seekers when specific daily limitations were reached, which attracted quick criticism from the left and a legal challenge from rights organizations.

The administration has defended the asylum decision, describing the congressional drive as “the toughest and fairest set of reforms in decades.”

Meanwhile, Trump has referred to immigrants as “poisoning the blood of the country” and has threatened to deport those who are here illegally.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration plans to make it easier for children who immigrated to the United States illegally as minors, known as Dreamers, to obtain work visas if they have completed college and have a “high-skilled job offer.”

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