Newly arrived immigrants seek space and food at a shelter in San Antonio (Texas)

Two weeks after the closure of the border with Mexico, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced this Tuesday (18) a historic measure to regularize the situation of around 500,000 immigrants. The new policy is aimed at illegal immigrants who have lived in the country for at least 10 years and children and young people under the age of 21 with American parents. Surveys indicate that the measure mainly benefits women, who would be the majority of marriages with American citizens.

Biden emphasized that the measure aims to keep migrant families together, contrasting with former President Donald Trump’s family separation policies. “These families have spent the last few years in uncertainty. We can fix this and that’s what we will do today,” declared Biden. This effort is one of the most comprehensive actions to support immigrants in the last decade and demonstrates Biden’s attempt to balance a crucial issue in the presidential election.

The new policy will allow undocumented immigrants married to US citizens to regularize their immigration status, obtain work authorization and avoid deportation. To qualify, the immigrant must have been in the United States for at least ten years, and the marriage must have taken place by Monday (17).

American legislation already granted these rights, but was more restrictive for those who entered the country illegally. Regularization was delayed because people don’t want to be away from their family for a long time. The immigrant was forced to leave the United States to file the documents – a long bureaucracy.

President Biden speaks at event marking the 12th anniversary of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

Political repercussions

The measure received praise from immigrant advocacy groups, but also criticism from conservative politicians, including Donald Trump, who promises mass deportations if re-elected. Rebecca Shi, executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, said: “The vast majority of Americans support these humane and sensible measures. This will directly improve the lives of more than 10 million American citizens who have an undocumented family member.”

Biden also criticized Trump for separating families at the border and using offensive language against immigrants. “We can both secure the border and provide legal paths to citizenship,” Biden said.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador praised the decision as a significant “advance”, highlighting the importance of regularizing Mexicans who have worked in the United States for years. “It’s great news that Mexican families will be regularized in the United States, especially students and young people. It is worthy of recognition,” declared López Obrador.

Economic and electoral implications

The move could significantly influence American politics, especially in swing states like Nevada, Arizona and Georgia, where many voters live in “mixed status” families. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Democrat of Nevada, said Biden’s action would boost the economy in her state.

On the other hand, NumbersUSA, an organization that supports stricter immigration controls, classified the new policy as “unconscionable” and accused Biden of exceeding his authority by implementing a process considered unconstitutional.

The new regularization policy announced by Biden represents a milestone in the United States’ approach to immigration, focusing on family reunification and creating legal pathways for immigrants who already contribute to American society. The measure, at the same time, reignites the political debate on one of the most polarizing topics in the country.


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