President Biden Signs Executive Orders On Immigration Reform

After saying he could no longer wait for Congress to act, President Biden has now signed two executive orders this month related to border security and immigration reform.

Friday, June 21st 2024, 9:53 pm



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After saying he could no longer wait for Congress to act, President Biden has now signed two executive orders this month related to border security and immigration reform. The latest action allows certain undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for lawful permanent residency without leaving the country.

"I would have preferred to do this through bipartisan legislation," President Biden told reporters at the White House on June 4, "but Republicans left me with no choice."

Those were the words from President Biden two and a half weeks ago when he announced the first executive action, aimed at slowing the flow of migrants into the country between lawful ports of entry. It's a move Senator James Lankford (R-OK) called political and which, in an interview Thursday, he said has had little impact.

"If you look at the numbers from four weeks ago and the numbers yesterday," Sen. Lankford said, "they are the same, there’s been no change in what’s happening at the border."

This week, the President announced a separate action to give legal status to the undocumented spouses of American citizens seeking green cards, as long as they’ve already been in the country for more than a decade and passed a background check.

"So, the law is very clear," Lankford explained, "you can’t get the status if you’re inside the country, and so he’s calling it 'parole in place', which is this term that they invented to say I’m going to pretend that you’re outside of the country and give you something that the law doesn’t allow for you to have."

The White House said the action could benefit as many as half a million American families and roughly 50,000 noncitizen children.

Lankford says what it also does is announce to the world: 'Do whatever it takes to get over the border, even if it’s illegally.'

"We as a nation should be encouraging legal immigration, not encouraging illegal immigration," Lankford said, "and once again, President Biden is encouraging illegal immigration with this announcement."

Of course, that is not at all how President Biden describes the action. He says this fits with his administration’s overarching philosophy of trying to protect immigrants, keep families together, and expand lawful pathways to citizenship.

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