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Ranking Member Jayapal Applauds Biden Administration Announcements Protecting Spouses of U.S. Citizens, Expanding Legal Pathways for DACA Recipients

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ranking Member of the Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement Subcommittee, issued the following statement celebrating the Biden administration’s executive actions on immigration:

“I want to thank President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas for taking these bold executive actions on immigration to begin to restore some fairness within a system that remains broken without Congressional action. President Biden recognizes the basic fairness of ensuring that U.S. citizens married to undocumented spouses can keep their families together. The President also recognizes the deep pain of DACA recipients who have been living in limbo and is ensuring he does everything possible to expand legal pathways for DACA recipients. I commend the President for these important actions that will help protect American families across the country.

“In November, I led 87 of my colleagues in urging the Biden administration to protect U.S. citizens who are married to an undocumented person. Many Americans would be shocked to hear that when a U.S. citizen marries an undocumented person, their spouse is not automatically eligible for citizenship. 

“Imagine loving someone, marrying them, and then still continuing to fear you would be separated from them. For many U.S. citizen children with an undocumented parent, there is terrible uncertainty about whether they will be able to stay together as a family. Allowing these 500,000 individuals to apply for Parole in Place has the potential to provide immediate relief.

“In addition, the new streamlined process that will open up current employment-based nonimmigrant visas to DACA recipients will ensure that more individuals can regularize their immigration status in light of continued inaction by Congress to protect Dreamers. 

“These actions also allow immigrants to work, which is critically important for their own well-being, their families’ financial security, and for our labor market – which needs workers thanks to the economic actions of the Biden Administration which have moved this country to it’s lowest employment rate in decades.

“Donald Trump and Republicans have continued to block important bipartisan immigration reforms from being enacted, preferring instead to keep immigrants out there as a political football to attack in the elections. This is shameful. The reality is that Congress can and must pass comprehensive and humane reforms that modernize our immigration system, strengthen the labor force, keep families together, and secure the border. Until then, President Biden’s steps today are important reforms that expand legal pathways and make the immigration system just a little bit fairer for millions of people. ”