Biden to ease immigration pathway for undocumented spouses of US citizens

President Joe Biden on Tuesday will unveil new rules easing the process for undocumented spouses of US citizens to obtain permanent residency status, the White House said.

The Biden administration has been trying to walk a thin line on immigration, a critical issue for many Americans ahead of November's presidential election.

The Democrat is seeking to be tougher on illegal migrants, while also contrasting himself with the harsher policies of Trump.

Biden's action in an executive order was immediately condemned by supporters of Republican rival Donald Trump.

The new rules will not expand eligibility for permanent residency, but rather streamline the process for those who already qualify.

That includes by removing a requirement they leave the country as part of the application process.

The new rules would apply to those present in the country for at least 10 years and married to a US citizen before June 17, 2024 -- which the administration estimates to include some 500,000 people.

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

Those approved would be granted work authorization and the right to stay in the United States for up to three years while they apply for permanent residency.

Once someone has permanent residency -- also known as a green card -- that person could in theory later apply for citizenship.

Republicans slammed the new rules.


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