‘Apply as soon as possible': Lawyer explains what the Biden administration's new immigration plan consists of

Undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens and DACA recipients will most benefit from the executive order.

NBC Universal, Inc.

President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday a new executive order that would shield over half a million people from deportation by creating a plan to grant legal status to migrants married to U.S. citizens.

Thousands of undocumented immigrants could benefit from Biden’s expanded immigration plan, which aims to also ease the Visa process for recipients of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. NBC Los Angeles spoke to immigration lawyer Alma Rosa Nieto, who shared insight on the new plan with the limited information revealed.

What does the plan consist of?

  • Allows partners of U.S. citizens and non-citizen children to request permanent legal residency without leaving the United States.
  • Accelerates the legal residence request process, decreasing it from a five-year process to a six-month process to get an interview, once candidates are granted parole.
  • Allows DACA holders to request work visas that “can turn into permanent residencies,” according to immigration lawyer Alma Rosa Nieto.

According to Nieto, the biggest difference with the new executive order is that couples will no longer have to leave the country to process their documents. This will not only protect them from deportation but will also provide them with work permits.

I am considering applying. What should I do?

Nieto explained that many of the requirements to apply are still unknown. “We are waiting for them to publish all of this so that we have more detailed information. What we know for now is that to be eligible, you have to have resided in the United States for at least 10 years, you must be in good standing and you must be married to a U.S. citizen,” she said.

Steps that Nieto recommends taking:

  • Decipher if you are eligible
  • If you are eligible, apply as soon as possible.
  • When preparing your application, seek advice from a trustworthy lawyer.
  • Compile all important documents: official marriage certificates, birth certificates, certificates of legal status, if applicable.
President Joe Biden announced a new streamlined process for certain spouses of U.S. citizens to seek permanent residents or citizenship. “There’s already a system in place for people we’re talking about today, but the process is cumbersome, risky and separates families … this action is a better way that doesn’t tear families apart,” the president said Tuesday.

According to Nieto, “the Biden Administration has already announced that they will turn those who are not eligible into immigration authorities if they have criminal records,” so she recommends ensuring your eligibility before applying. 

Applying as soon as possible is the most important thing to do, according to Nieto. If the new president decides to cancel the plan, or if it gets detained by court orders, at least the already submitted requests will be processed.

“Get advice from a lawyer, maybe even from two. Not from your friend who works with a paralegal or from your nephew who is in law school, but advice from a lawyer who has experience, who understands the parole, and who is also honest with the person who will be giving them advice about immigration and criminal records, because you do not want to walk straight into the lion’s den,” Nieto said.

The details of this new immigration plan will be revealed soon. For now, it is important to begin to get lawyers’ advice to be prepared for when the time comes to submit a residency request.

Contact Us