By:  Richard Hanus, Esq.

June 18, 2024

In the Executive Order he announced today, President Biden establishes a path to legalization and a shielding from deportation for approximately 500,000+ foreign nationals who entered the US without a visa.  Applicants will need to satisfy a number of important requirements, including proving that as of June 17, 2024:

  1. they have lived in the U.S. for 10 years AND
  2. they are married to a U.S. citizen.

Also benefiting from this program are approximately 50,000 foreign national step children of U.S. citizens.

If eligible, the foreign national will be issued “parole in place” status and be put on a path to obtain an Employment Authorization Document and eventually lawful permanent resident status (AKA Green Card) within a 3 year period.    Like with other immigration processes now in place, applicants will be subject to screening for criminal and other background factors.

Why does this Executive Order matter so much?

Under current law – with few exceptions – foreign nationals who enter the US without inspection (no visa) and marry a U.S. citizen must undergo a circuitous 4 -5 year Green Card process, culminating with a stressful trip back to the applicant’s home country for a U.S. consular post interview.  Among the requirements, the applicant must submit a “waiver” filing and demonstrate that their U.S. citizen spouse will suffer extreme hardship if their filing is denied and they are kept from continuing to reside in the U.S.

But under the new Biden program, neither a showing of extreme hardship nor a departure from the U.S. to complete processing and obtain Green Card status is required.

The new Biden Executive order will also benefit foreign nationals who are approved DACA applicants, with an expansion of accessible work visa options to continue residing in the U.S. beyond their renewable 2 year DACA status.

What are the procedures for filing and when will applications start being accepted?

Timing wise, it is expected filings will start to be accepted by late Summer.    As to actual forms and substantive supporting documentation requirements, we can expect guidance in the coming weeks.

The “A” word.  Is this program an “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants?   Sort of.   Whenever a program is put into effect allowing a lawbreaker to come forward and cure their violation, and arguably be rewarded for their violation, one could call that process an “amnesty”.  However, one could also call our current, decades-old immigration status quo for our undocumented population a de facto amnesty as well, since millions of undocumented foreign nationals continue to be allowed to live, work and pay taxes in our country, but under the radar of immigration authorities.

Will there be lawsuits filed to prevent implementation of this program?  For sure.  The problem our nation has always faced when it comes to addressing our immigration challenges is finding common ground in our legislature.   But with our Congress being unable to even agree that 2 + 2 equals 4, President Biden resorted to his Executive powers to implement this new program.   The lawsuits undoubtedly will call out the President for acting beyond his legal authority and bypassing Congress, the proper body to be putting into place immigration programs like this.

What should I do to prepare for when (and if) this plan is implemented?

Start gathering supporting documentation, including evidence of 10 years of residence in the U.S. (e.g. tax returns, bank and other account statements, school records, receipts), criminal court dispositions, birth certificate for yourself and family members and marriage certificate, as well as evidence of your spouse’s U.S. citizenship.  With this Executive Order leaving prospective applicants with a slew of eligibility and process questions, it’s also advisable to find a legal professional you can trust and rely on, preferably a lawyer focusing exclusively on immigration law matters and who has a reputation for competence and integrity.

All developments regarding the implementation of this program will continue to be covered in this blog.  For the latest, most important U.S. immigration law news, be sure to sign up to receive “Richard’s Blog” (published biweekly) – at

PUBLISHED June 18, 2024 – “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2024, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois