President Biden Announces Major Initiatives For Certain Undocumented Spouses Of U.S. Citizens, 'Dreamers'

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President Joe Biden announced a pair of key immigration initiatives Tuesday which could have major positive impacts for applicable foreign nationals.
United States Immigration
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President Joe Biden announced a pair of key immigration initiatives Tuesday which could have major positive impacts for applicable foreign nationals.

The first policy allows certain undocumented individuals who are married to U.S. citizens, as well as their children, to apply for legal permanent residency via "Parole in Place," while the second creates a pathway for "DACA recipients and other Dreamers" to "more quickly receive work visas."

"(President Biden) believes in expanding lawful pathways and keeping families together, and that immigrants who have been in the United States for decades, paying taxes and contributing to their communities, are part of the social fabric of our country," the White House wrote in a fact sheet about the new policies shortly after they were released.

It is important to note that information on these programs is currently very limited. Key details have not yet been released, including exact eligibility, application procedures, and timeline.

There are no forms or applications to file pursuant to this program at this time. It is anticipated that program implementation may not be until later this summer, or thereafter. However, below is information we currently know about both policies announced by the White House on Tuesday.


The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows for Parole in Place (PIP) to be granted for "urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit." Undocumented individuals could be eligible for PIP under Biden's new initiative if they:

  • Have lived in the United States for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024
  • Are married to a U.S. citizen
  • Satisfy all other "applicable legal requirements"

Cases will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. Spouses who are granted PIP will be provided authorization to work in the United States for up to three years. Further, spouses who receive PIP are "paroled" for the purposes of applying for a green card inside the United States under the INA.

Normally, individuals who enter the United States unlawfully cannot apply for permanent residence (adjustment of status) from inside the United States and must leave the country before doing so. PIP allows for beneficiaries to avoid having to depart the U.S., which would normally trigger the three-year (if accrued more than 180 days but less than one year of unlawful presence during a single stay in the United States) and 10-year (if accrued one year or more of unlawful presence during a single stay in the United States) unlawful presence grounds of inadmissibility, a basis for the government to deny applications for legal permanent residency.

Eligible spouses of U.S. citizens should apply for their green card during the three-year period in which they are work authorized via the PIP program announced by Biden. Undocumented children of noncitizen spouses under 21 years old will also qualify for PIP under the new policy announced by Biden, provided they meet all eligibility criteria.

In total, about 500,000 spouses of U.S. citizens, and approximately 50,000 noncitizen children, will benefit from the expanded PIP eligibility, according to the White House.

"These actions will promote family unity and strengthen our economy, providing a significant benefit to the country and helping U.S. citizens and their noncitizen family members stay together," the fact sheet read.


In addition to the updated Parole in Place eligibility, the Biden administration also announced a new policy which eases "the visa process for U.S. college graduates, including 'Dreamers.'"

The new policy will allow DACA recipients and others who have graduated with a degree from a U.S. college or university to "more quickly receive work visas," if they have been offered a full-time, permanent job from a United States employer in a field related to their area of study.

"Recognizing that it is in our national interest to ensure that individuals who are educated in the U.S. are able to use their skills and education to benefit our country, the administration is taking action to facilitate the employment visa process for those who have graduated from college and have a high-skilled job offer, including DACA recipients and other Dreamers," the fact sheet read.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was first implemented via executive action by President Barack Obama in June 2012. DACA recipients, known as "Dreamers," can receive work authorization in the United States, enroll at colleges and universities, and obtain a driver's license. However, DACA does not currently provide recipients a legal pathway to citizenship.

While the exact regulations have not yet been published, Biden's initiative could allow DACA recipients to process for nonimmigrant work visas/status, which could in turn put them on a legal pathway to citizenship.

The Biden administration has been unable to process initial applications for DACA since July 2021 because of various federal court rulings. Learn more about the current status of the DACA program.

Again, it is important to note that the exact regulations Biden announced Tuesday have yet to be released. The programs may also be challenged through litigation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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