Biden’s immigration relief: What to know about parole in place expansion

Biden’s immigration relief: What to know about parole in place expansion

President Biden issued sweeping immigration relief Tuesday that would allow certain undocumented immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens to stay in the country and work legally.

Biden’s latest action expands the regularization program known as parole in place, which largely affects military families and spouses. He also announced new measures that will make it easier for immigrants living in the country illegally to apply for a visa application.

The latest immigration relief comes on the heels of executive action announced by the administration last week intended to curb the flow of migrants coming across the southern border.

Here’s what to know about the expansion of parole in place:

What is parole in place?

Parole in place allows a foreign national who entered the U.S. without authorization to stay for a certain period of time. It is typically granted on a case-by-case basis, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Who is eligible?

Those eligible for the expanded parole in place program must have been present in the U.S. for at least 10 years as of Monday and have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of the same date.

They also must meet all legal requirements, like having no disqualifying criminal history and not being a threat to national security.

Noncitizen children of potential applicants could also be considered for parole in place “if they are physically present in the United States without admission or parole and have a qualifying stepchild relationship to a U.S. citizen,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Those who are eligible can apply for a case-by-case assessment of their parole request. Those who are approved will be given three years to apply for permanent residency and will receive a three-year work permit and deferral from deportation in the meantime.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted at a press conference that those who arrive in the country now are not eligible.

“Individuals who arrive now are not eligible — so we did try to give this a scope, if you will,” she said when asked about how the administration balances benefiting those who may have broken the rules before.

How many people are affected?  

About half a million spouses of U.S. citizens and about 50,000 noncitizen children under the age of 21 could be eligible for this program, according to the White House.

Jean-Pierre said that the average person who is eligible for this program has been in the country for about 23 years.

“People who are eligible have been here for 23 years … that spouse is married to an American citizen, they probably have children, some of them, who are American citizens because they were born here,” she said.

How has parole in place been used before?  

This policy typically applied to family members of military members before the expansion was announced Tuesday.

Before the announcement, those eligible for parole in place included the spouses, parents or children of active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces, individuals in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or a military veteran, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Is it amnesty?

Republicans are certainly calling it that.

Former President Trump’s campaign on Tuesday labeled Biden’s actions a “mass amnesty” program, a term conservatives use more broadly to apply to nonrestrictionist immigration policies.

Amnesty specifically is a pardon given to someone who violated rules related to immigration, according to Cornell University’s Legal Law Institute.

Will it hold up in court?

Jean-Pierre expressed confidence that the new expansion of parole in place will survive legal challenges.

“We believe that this approach, this announcement that we’re making today is squarely within our legal authorities,” she said.

Alex Gangitano contributed reporting.

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