On June 17, 2024, President Biden signed a pivotal executive order aimed at strengthening family unity for noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens. This new directive introduces a significant process change for many who have been long-term residents of the United States. Here’s an in-depth look at what this executive order entails and its potential impact.

New Permanent Residence Process

A fresh approach has been established to consider on a case-by-case basis the requests from noncitizen spouses who meet specific criteria. These individuals, who have lived in the U.S. for 10 years or more, and do not pose any threat to public safety or national security, can now apply for an adjustment of status without having to leave the U.S. This process is designed to be more inclusive and humane, recognizing the contributions and roots these families have established in the country.

Potential Impact

This policy change is poised to affect approximately 500,000 noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens, with these individuals having an average of 23 years of residence in the United States. Additionally, about 50,000 children of these spouses will also benefit from this new process, ensuring that families can stay together and thrive without the fear of separation.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for this new permanent residence process, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Continuous presence in the U.S. for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024.
  • A legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024.
  • No disqualifying criminal history and must not constitute a threat to national security or public safety.

Application Process

Applicants are required to file a form with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), accompanied by supporting documentation and a fee. USCIS will then evaluate each request individually, determining whether it merits a favorable exercise of discretion.

Additional Family Reunification Actions

In addition to the new permanent residence process, the executive order includes other family reunification measures:

  • Implementation of family reunification parole processes for nationals of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Ecuador.
  • Updates and modernization of the Cuban and Haitian family reunification parole processes.

Facilitation of Employment-Based Visas

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will collaborate with the Department of State to facilitate employment-based nonimmigrant visas for eligible individuals, including DACA recipients and undocumented noncitizens who have graduated from accredited U.S. institutions. This move aims to retain talent and support economic growth by ensuring these individuals can contribute to the workforce legally.

Protect Yourself from Immigration Scams

With any new immigration process, it’s crucial to be aware of potential scams. Here are some common scams to watch out for:

  • Government Impersonators: USCIS will contact you only through official channels. Avoid any communication through personal social media.
  • Scam Websites: Verify information from official government websites ending in .gov.
  • Payments by Phone or Email: USCIS never asks for money transfers to individuals. Avoid payments via Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal, or gift cards.
  • Notarios Públicos and Unauthorized Practitioners: Notarios públicos are not authorized to provide legal immigration services in the U.S. Seek advice only from attorneys or accredited representatives.

Upcoming Announcements

The federal notice will announce more information in the upcoming months. Currently, the applications for this process are not yet published. It is essential to stay informed and seek guidance from authorized individuals as more details become available.

Conclusion

President Biden’s executive order on family unity is a significant step forward in ensuring that noncitizen spouses and their families can remain together without the fear of separation. By understanding the eligibility requirements, application process, and protecting oneself from scams, eligible individuals can navigate this new process more effectively.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Konare Law. Our experienced attorneys are here to assist you with any questions and guide you through the new process to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family. Visit Konare Law or call us today.

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