Biden to protect undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens

WASHINGTON: President Biden announced sweeping new legal protections for undocumented immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for years and are married to Americans.

It is one of the most expansive presidential actions to protect immigrants in more than a decade. Under the new policy, 500,000 people would be shielded from deportation, given work permits and offered a pathway to citizenship.

The benefits would also extend to the roughly 50,000 children of undocumented spouses who became stepchildren to American citizens. Biden administration officials said they expected the program to launch by the end of the summer.

“These couples have been raising families, sending their kids to church and school, paying taxes, contributing to our country,” Biden said at the White House. “They’re living in the United States all this time with fear and uncertainty. We can fix that.”

Immediately after the announcement, allies of Donald Trump accused Biden of being weak on the border. Speaker Mike Johnson said the president was “granting amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.”

The move comes just two weeks after Biden imposed a major crackdown at the U.S.-Mexico border, cutting off access to asylum for people who crossed into the U.S. illegally. Polls show Americans want tougher policies on immigration.

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