Biden Unveils New Actions To Protect Thousands Of Illegal Immigrants

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden’s White House announced new initiatives Tuesday that will protect thousands of illegal immigrants living in the U.S., according to a press release.

Biden’s latest move will direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grant protections to about 500,000 illegal immigrant spouses and children of U.S. citizens, officials told Politico. The president also announced plans to allow “DACA recipients and Dreamers” to obtain work visas rather than temporary work authorization, the White House press release states.

A majority of registered voters, 62%, would support a government program that would deport all illegal immigrants living in the U.S., according to a June CBS/YouGov poll.

The president took executive action June 4 in an effort to address the migrant crisis after claiming for months that he did not have the power to introduce such initiatives.

“President Biden believes that securing the border is essential. He also believes in expanding lawful pathways and keeping families together, and that immigrants who have been in the United States for decades, paying taxes and contributing to their communities, are part of the social fabric of our country,” the White House press release states.

The earlier executive action pauses new asylum requests after the number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border hits a daily average of 2,500 over the span of a week. Requests can resume once the average falls to 1,500.

“Individuals who cross the southern border unlawfully or without authorization will generally be ineligible for asylum, absent exceptionally compelling circumstances, unless they are accepted by the proclamation,” a senior administration official told reporters about the June 4 executive action.

While Biden denied that he had the power to take action, the president moved to blame Congressional Republicans ahead of his latest policy move.

In January, the president said he had exhausted all options to solve the border crisis and would need more “power” to solve the crisis.

“Have you done everything you can do with executive authority [on the border]?” a reporter asked Biden as he walked out to Marine One on the South Lawn.

“I’ve done all I can do. Just give me the power. Give me the border patrol. Give me the people. The judges. Give me the people who can stop this and make it work right,” Biden responded.

The White House also criticized House Republicans’ trip to the southern border in January, arguing the visit should not be held while negotiations over aid to the crisis stalled. Introduced by the president, the supplemental request tied aid to Ukraine, Israel and the border crisis in one package.

“Actions speak louder than words,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told Politico in a statement. “House Republicans’ anti-border security record is defined by attempting to cut Customs and Border Protection personnel, opposing President Biden’s record-breaking border security funding, and refusing to take up the President’s supplemental funding request.”

Biden said that he was determining whether he had the “power” to close the U.S.-Mexico border during an April 9 interview with Univision.

“Have you made a final decision on taking executive order in terms of what you want to do at the border, that includes the power to shut down the border, as it was suggested?” the Univision interviewer asked.

“Well I suggested that,” Biden responded. “We’re examining whether or not I have that power. I would have that power under the legislation.”