The Government of President Joe Biden announced this Tuesday a new program that will allow the regularization of more than half a million migrants living in the country without legal status, officials said in a call with reporters.

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The decision, which will mainly benefit people married to US citizens, comes less than five months before a presidential election in which migration management has become a central issue for Americans.

The new immigration relief is one of the most important since the Barack Obama Administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, which has allowed more than 800,000 migrants to obtain work permits and protection against to deportation.

However, the new policies will take months to take effect and will give migrants the opportunity to take only the first step in the process of obtaining residency in the US, which can take years.

Who will benefit?

The program is based on a legal figure known as “parole”, which grants those who are already in the United States protection against deportation and allows them to apply for a work permit.

With this permit, which will be valid for three years, Migrants who entered the country irregularly and are married to U.S. citizens can apply for residency and, eventually, citizenship.

“These people have deep family ties and ties to their community in the United States,” said one of the officials who announced the measure in a call with journalists.

How to request the benefit?

To request this relief, The person must have married a US citizen before June 17, 2024 and have lived in the country for at least 10 years.

In turn, children under 21 years of age of those who are married to Americans and who also do not have legal status They can also obtain permission.

However, officials noted, Migrants who have been deported from the US in the past do not qualify for this protection.

In theory, undocumented people can obtain residency if they marry an American. However, To do so, they must leave the country and go to an embassy, ​​which carries the risk of being prohibited from entering again for periods of 3 to 10 years. in retaliation for having been in the US without legal status.

This situation, officials acknowledged, has led many families to “live in fear and face deep uncertainty about their future.”

The announced relief allows migrants to apply for residency, also known as a “green card”, while in US territory.

In addition to this program, the US Government also announced this Tuesday that it will seek to “improve” the process by which some of those who arrived in the country as children and have not yet regularized their situation can apply for work visas.

The State Department will create “guidelines” to provide more clarity and accelerate the issuance of H1B visas for those “dreamers” who have graduated from an American university and have a “job offer” from an American company.

The White House announcements come just over two weeks after Biden imposed a series of restrictions on access to asylum at the border that have been harshly criticized by human rights groups.

The Democrat, who won the presidency with a pro-migrant speech that positioned him as the antithesis of former President Donald Trump, has taken increasingly coercive measures with migration.

This latest immigration relief is interpreted by experts as an attempt to attract Latino voters, decisive in some key states such as Arizona or Nevada, after having abandoned his campaign promise of offering a path to citizenship to the more than 11 million undocumented migrants.

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