Texas Children's Advocates Applaud Biden Administration's Expansion of Legal Pathways for Undocumented Spouses and Dreamers

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 6/18/2024, 2:14 p.m.
CHILDREN AT RISK celebrates a landmark victory for immigrant families following the Biden Administration's announcement of expanded legal pathways for …
Dr. Bob Sanborn, President & CEO of CHILDREN AT RISK

CHILDREN AT RISK celebrates a landmark victory for immigrant families following the Biden Administration's announcement of expanded legal pathways for undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, often referred to as "Dreamers."

Dr. Bob Sanborn, President & CEO of CHILDREN AT RISK, lauded the initiative, saying, “This is exactly the kind of positive, uplifting action and leadership we need for immigrant families in Texas."

New Legal Pathways for Undocumented Spouses

The new policy allows undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens to qualify for parole in place, enabling them to remain with their families while applying for permanent residency. Previously, these spouses had to return to their home countries to adjust their status, leading to prolonged and sometimes permanent separations from their families. Under the new guidelines, they will also receive work authorization, which will significantly contribute to family stability and economic prosperity.

This change is particularly impactful given that more than 1 million undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens reside in the U.S., and over 5 million children live with at least one undocumented parent. Research consistently shows that immigration enforcement and the threat thereof negatively affect children's long-term health and development. Family stability and economic mobility, achieved through lawful status and work authorization, greatly benefit children's well-being.

Streamlined Processes for DACA Recipients

For DACA recipients, the administration's new guidance on the D-3 waiver program provides a streamlined process for applying for work visas. This policy mitigates the uncertainty faced by many DACA recipients, their families, and other undocumented youth excluded from the DACA program. Notably, there are over a quarter-million U.S. citizen children with at least one parent holding DACA status.

Linda Corchado, Senior Director of Immigration at CHILDREN AT RISK, emphasized the significance of the policy changes, stating, “We need solutions like the ones introduced today. Legal pathways that stabilize families, promote prosperity, and shield children from harm. We celebrate today’s win for kids!”

Public Support and Policy Impact

The broader public sentiment in the U.S. is largely supportive of providing relief to immigrant families. Studies show that about three-quarters of U.S. adults favor granting affirmative relief to these families. This widespread support underscores the importance of policies that offer stability and opportunities for immigrant families and their children.

A Step Forward for Immigrant Families

The Biden Administration's actions mark a significant step forward in creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for immigrant families. By addressing the legal status and work authorization for undocumented spouses and Dreamers, these policies not only foster family unity but also contribute to the economic and social fabric of the nation.

As CHILDREN AT RISK and other advocates celebrate this progress, the hope is that such measures will continue to pave the way for comprehensive immigration reform that benefits all members of the community.

For more info, visit childrenatrisk.org