Chicago Law Office of Christine Contreras

June 2024 Newsletter: New Process to Promote Family Unity

DHS Announces New Process to Promote the Unity and Stability of Families

The huge news this month is the announcement made by the Biden administration about forthcoming changes to the immigration process meant to promote family unity.

After months of standstill on immigration issues, the executive order took everyone by surprise. The gist is that it will provide legal protections to the undocumented spouses of United States citizens. The order is expected to affect around 500,000 people, shielding them from deportation, giving them a pathway to residence, and allowing them to work legally in the United States.

Under the current law, the noncitizen spouse of a United States citizen can apply for lawful permanent residence — however, if he or she is undocumented, he or she would have to leave the United States and wait to be processed abroad. Considering the delays in processing most application types, this usually results in prolonged separation for spouses, a situation that is not ideal for anyone.

The new process will allow the noncitizen spouse to apply for permanent residence from within the United States and be processed while living here. These applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the noncitizen spouse needs to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Be present in the United States without admission or parole;
  • Have been continuously present in the United States for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024;
  • Have a legally valid marriage to a United States citizen as of June 17, 2024;
  • Have no disqualifying legal history and do not pose a threat to public safety or national security.

In order to be considered for parole, the noncitizen spouse will need to file a form with USCIS along with supporting documentation to show he or she meets the requirements. Further information regarding eligibility and the application process, including a notice in the Federal Register, will be published in the coming months.

Please note that USCIS will reject any filings that are made before more explicit instructions about the application process are provided. Applications are NOT currently being accepted.

As always, stay tuned to our blog and newsletter for the latest in immigration news and policy. And if you have any questions about the above or about your case, do not hesitate to reach out to me!