Biden Immigration Policy Will Protect Children, Spouses of US Citizens, Expert Says

Biden Immigration Policy Will Protect Children, Spouses of US Citizens, Expert Says

Summary: The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a plan to institute a policy allowing certain spouses of U.S. citizens currently without legal status to apply for permanent residency and eventual citizenship. According to the White House, the decision could affect as many as 500,000 immigrants.

“This policy will improve the safety of the affected individuals and will provide economic benefits to the U.S.,” says Sarah Bermeo, associate professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

“Allowing migrants the ability to work legally benefits the host country by enhancing economic growth and tax revenue. This is true even when the migrants are not immediate family of U.S. citizens. Countries such as Colombia and Costa Rica have granted work status to migrants, which decreases the opportunity for criminal elements to prey on migrants and boosts local economies.”

“Studying the benefits of this new policy and similar policies in other countries will provide important information as the U.S. struggles with an aging workforce and could potentially use migration reform to boost economic growth and improve the financial health of programs like Social Security.”

“This is particularly true as violence and climate change are likely to continue forcing people to leave their home countries, and many of these individuals would like to migrate to the U.S.”

Sarah Bermeo is a political economist, associate professor of public policy and political science at Duke University, and co-director of Duke’s Program on Climate-Related Migration. Her research lies at the intersection of international relations and development, with a focus on foreign aid, migration, climate change and the intersection of these areas. Bermeo is author of “Targeted Development: Industrialized Country Strategy in a Globalizing World” (Oxford, 2018). You can hear talk more about her work on Sanford’s recent migration episode of the Ways & Means Podcast.

For additional comment, contact Sarah Bermeo at: