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Biden policy change on immigration called "overdue" by advocates in Michigan

Steve Carmody
Michigan Public

Advocates for undocumented people in Michigan are praising a federal policy change affecting immigrants married to U.S. citizens.

The Biden administration will allow certain spouses of U.S. citizens without legal status to apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship.

“This moment is long overdue,” said Adonis Flores, with Michigan United. “We are here to celebrate a small victory for our families. But much more work needs to still happen.”

To qualify, an immigrant must have lived in the United States for 10 years as of Monday and be married to a U.S. citizen. If a qualifying immigrant’s application is approved, he or she would have three years to apply for a green card and receive a temporary work permit, shielded from deportation in the meantime.

Advocates say the policy change could directly affect 50,000 Michiganders.

Vero Silva said her family has been impacted in the past when family members were deported.

“Every time our loved one leave the home, we get worried that they won’t come back,” said Silva. “They could get detained and deported, leaving behind broken families.”

The President’s action is being criticized by Republicans.

“Michigan is begging for more border security, but Joe Biden (and congressional Democrats) still refuse to crack down on illegal immigration, “ said National Republican Congressional committee spokesman Mike Marinella. “While Republicans present border security solutions…. the Democrats still refuse to take the border crisis seriously.” 

Tuesday’s announcement came two weeks after Biden unveiled a sweeping crackdown at the U.S.-Mexico border that effectively halted asylum claims for those arriving between officially designated ports of entry. Immigrant-rights groups have sued the Biden administration over that directive, which a senior administration official said Monday had led to fewer border encounters between ports.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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