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Following Decades of Tireless Organizing and Advocacy, Immigrant and Civil Rights Groups Win Historic Relief for Immigrant Families

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Washington, D.C. —Today, President Biden announced a plan to use his parole authority to protect roughly half a million spouses of U.S. citizens, including eligible DACA recipients, from deportation and provide them with access to work authorization and a possible path to permanent residency and citizenship. This decision results from decades of advocacy by national, state, and local organizations, which have fought to keep families and communities together and continue to advocate for permanent protections for millions of immigrants who live, work, and call the United States home. In response, leaders of leading immigrant and civil rights organizations said:

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream, said:

“For years our communities have come together to organize, strategize, and build the power needed to win protections for our loved ones. Today’s announcement is a testament to the ways in which our collective power as Black, brown, queer and undocumented people in this country has only grown despite concerted anti-immigrant attacks from Trump supporters intended to hurt us. From winning DACA 12 years ago, to winning healthcare for more undocumented folks earlier this year, to now delivering even more expansive, life-changing relief for hundreds of thousands of people, none of these victories would have been possible without our movement showing up every day to fight for our lives and our rights. We recognize this moment as a victory for our movement, a step in the right direction for President Biden, and a recommitment to continue to fight for the day where ALL people have the dignity and freedom to stay and freedom to thrive.”

Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice, said:

“Thanks to this policy announcement, hundreds of thousands of families will be able to have a measure of peace knowing that they are no longer at risk of deportation and being separated from their families. This action would not have been possible without the fearless organizing of impacted people and immigrant communities. It is the type of positive, uplifting action we need on immigration that keeps our families together and benefits all of us. We commend President Biden for taking this much-needed step and encourage his Administration to be bold and forge a path on immigration that moves us forward.” 

Gustavo Torres, President of CASA in Action said:

“This executive order stands as a beacon of hope, ensuring approximately 1 million families find solace in safety from deportation, keeping their families together, and relief for DACA recipients. Such decisive action is a testament to the tireless advocacy and organizing of immigrant communities and organizations who have fought for years for relief. It exemplifies a visionary and compassionate approach to immigration reform that benefits us all. We applaud President Biden for this crucial step toward family preservation and urge his Administration to continue boldly in reform efforts, learning from past mistakes. We anticipate that immigrant and Latino voters will express their gratitude at the ballot box in November, rewarding the President for his critical decision.”

Natalia Aristizabal, Deputy Director of Make the Road New York, said:

“President Biden’s action is a step in the right direction for the nearly half a million people living in the United States who may benefit from today’s announcement. For years we have been calling on the president to pass immigration reform. In the absence of congressional action on a comprehensive and humane bill, we are glad to see Biden announce this today. This victory comes after years of pushing the administration to provide solutions for the immigrant community—while immigrants in the United States have been under tremendous threat from extremists, we have shown that we will not back down and will continue to hold leaders accountable for delivering for our families.”

Todd Schulte, President of FWD.us, said:

“Today marks a historic milestone in improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers and American families with undocumented members. This is a tremendous step forward from President Biden, and a much-needed fulfillment of the promise to keep families together. We celebrate alongside millions whose futures are brighter today, stand with those still awaiting similar protections, and renew our commitment to protecting this progress and fixing every aspect of our failed immigration system — including giving a pathway to citizenship to those who have waited too long.”

Yadira Sánchez, Executive Director of Poder Latinx, said:

“We applaud the Biden-Harris administration for providing long-awaited relief to American families. This is a step in the right direction and part of an ongoing plan by the Biden administration to protect immigrants and keep families together. This move not only brings hope and relief to countless families who have waited for years but also reinforces the principles of justice, inclusivity, and compassion. While this is a momentous occasion, our work is far from over and we will continue to advocate fiercely and tirelessly until all immigrant American families are living with the dignity and respect they deserve.” 

Mary Novak, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic, said:

 “For Catholics, family is the primary community God uses to help us become the people God calls us to be. It is critical therefore, for all families to be honored and protected. We welcome this Executive Order because it enables hundreds of thousands of families to stay together and live fulfilling lives without the worry of deportation and separation. This action was won by fearless organizing of immigrant communities around the country, and we commend President Biden for hearing their voices and taking this much-needed first step.  We ask the Biden administration and Congress to build on these pro-family policies that unite us all, support the dignity of immigrant families and build stronger communities in the United States.” 

Kica Matos, President of the National Immigration Law Center, said:

 “President Biden’s announcement today represents the kind of courageous action we want and need from our elected leaders. By providing this much-needed relief, the Administration has not only helped keep hundreds of thousands of families together, but also sent a clear and decisive message that immigrants are deeply rooted community members who help make America stronger. Even as we celebrate this historic moment, we cannot lose sight of the millions of immigrants across the country who are still waiting for a permanent legislative solution. It’s well past time for Congress to get the job done and pass a pathway to citizenship.”

Alejandra Gomez, Executive Director of Living United for Change in Arizona, said:

“​​Today, President Biden took an important step forward in reforming our broken immigration system. These new protections will offer much-needed stability for undocumented spouses and Dreamers, allowing them to remain with their loved ones. This is a testament to years of advocacy work led by LUCHA, United We Dream, and many other organizations that pushed the administration to take executive action to protect undocumented immigrants. But we also recognize that a larger issue remains. Without comprehensive immigration reform, millions of immigrants will continue to live in a constant state of limbo and fear. Voters overwhelmingly support reform, and Latino voters in recent polls have shown their disappointment with President Biden and Democrats in Congress due to failed commitments to passing comprehensive immigration reform. We continue to urge the Biden Administration to advance a reform package. We need legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and puts an end to harmful policies like detention and deportation.”