• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG

Jun 18, 2024, 1:33pm EDT
North America
icon

Semafor Signals

Biden immigration order offers protection for undocumented spouses of US citizens, Dreamers

Insights from Semafor, The Wall Street Journal, Equis Research, and Vox

Arrow Down
US president Joe Biden
Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters
PostEmailWhatsapp
Title icon

The News

US President Joe Biden announced a new executive action to protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the United States. The action will offer a path to citizenship and work permits for the undocumented spouses of US citizens who meet a minimum 10-year residency and other requirements, and allow Dreamers — children who arrived in the US as undocumented migrants but who have grown up in the country — to remain and apply for a three-year work permit.

Some 500,000 people could be eligible for the spouses program, according to government estimates, and a further 50-100,000 Dreamers could benefit, too. The action is the largest immigration relief initiative since former President Barack Obama’s 2012 measure, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

AD

Biden is expected to announce the policy at a White House event marking the anniversary of DACA on Tuesday.

icon

SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Biden is offering a “major olive branch” to progressives

Source icon
Sources:  
Semafor, The Wall Street Journal, Politico

Biden’s executive order is a “major olive branch” for progressives “infuriated” by the President’s previous order to limit border crossings, Semafor’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig wrote. By benefiting undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for a long time and have family lives there, Biden is offering Latino voters and immigration advocates a “sweetener” to try and prevent potential backlash affecting the polls, The Wall Street Journal noted. It also responds to a call from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to pair “positives” with the executive order on border security. With this order, Biden may hope to buttress support on what is a delicate policy issue in key electoral constiuencies, much in the same way Barack Obama did with DACA in 2012, Politico wrote.

Biden wants to thread the needle on immigration ahead of election

Source icon
Sources:  
Brookings Institute, Gallup, Equis Research

Immigration could “determine the next President of the United States,” an expert wrote for the Brookings Institute, a US policy think tank. Biden’s executive order is an attempt to win over Latino voters with “an easy straightforward fix that most Americans think happens already,” Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York told CNN, while also attempting to satisfy the 41% of Americans who want less immigration. Policies centered on keeping families together could help persuade and mobilize Latinos, according to a survey of these voters by Equis Research. But Biden has more to do to shore up approval for his broader border policy — a June poll found 64% of voters disapproved of the President’s handling of immigration, the biggest margin since 2021.

Decision is a sharp contrast to Donald Trump’s deportation plan

Source icon
Sources:  
Vox, Associated Press, ProPublica

Trump’s stance on immigration has hardened since his presidency, Vox noted; he has called for the “largest domestic deportation operation in American history” and promised to sanction raids to round up undocumented immigrants and detain them in camps. At a June campaign event in Detroit, Trump called immigrants “animals” and said they were “invading” the American workforce. In response, Biden’s campaign highlighted the dichotomy between his administration’s policy and Trump’s approach in a statement after the new executive order was announced, saying it was “a powerful stark reminder of Donald Trump’s unforgivable legacy of ripping crying children away from their parents” under the previous administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy.

Semafor Logo
AD