Biden deserves credit for immigration decision

By Christine Flowers
Posted 7/3/24

When I hear the phrase “mass deportation,” I envision scenes from Poland in the 1940s.

I know a lot of Republicans who would be appalled at that analogy, the kind of people who say …

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Biden deserves credit for immigration decision


When I hear the phrase “mass deportation,” I envision scenes from Poland in the 1940s.

I know a lot of Republicans who would be appalled at that analogy, the kind of people who say things like “we have to close that border, now!” and who usually tell me that they like immigrants who do it “the right way.” I’m strongly against the objectification of human beings because of their immigration status.

I’ve also been harshly critical of Joe Biden’s administration, including a move he announced a few weeks ago that would essentially gut the asylum system for those seeking relief at the border. Desperate people shouldn’t be used as election fodder.

But I do need to give him credit for an executive order, which may or may not be challenged in court, that permits the spouses of U.S. citizens who have been living in the United States for at least ten years (as of June 18, 2024) and have been legally married since June 17, 2024 to obtain their permanent residence or “green cards.”

Their minor children are also eligible, if they were physically present on that date and had a valid “stepchild” relationship with their biological parent’s spouse.

Up until Biden made his announcement, husbands and wives of U.S. citizens had to leave the country in order to do what immigration attorneys call “adjust their status.” It was an interminable process, with a lot of uncertainty and, in many cases, long separations.

Over the past thirty years that I’ve been practicing immigration law, I’ve seen the impact of those separations on men and women who happened to fall in love with someone from the “wrong” side of the border. That includes the Canadian border, by the way.

I don’t expect many on the right to have a lot of sympathy. I’ve been a conservative long enough to know there is precious little desire to empathize with someone seen to have “broken” the laws by slipping into the United States without permission. I’ve had enough conversations where people tell me Biden’s initiative look like an amnesty, and that they will come back at me with the tragic story of another woman murdered by an immigrant.

I also know that progressives will take this opportunity to whip up anger at their political enemies, and my friends on the right will castigate me for giving them any ammunition.

But I’m really tired of playing politics with immigration, just as I’m disgusted when the pro-abortion crowd uses the very limited, very exaggerated cases of women who had to travel to get so-called life-saving abortions to paint pro-lifers as morally corrupt.

The blinders are bipartisan. So here are the facts. Biden’s executive order would not allow people with serious criminal convictions, immigration violations or other negative factors to obtain their permanent residence. It requires a showing of good moral character, and at least ten years of living in this country.

Ten years is a long time to lay down roots, and if you have been able to fall in love, have children, hold down a job, not commit a crime and pay your taxes, you deserve to be given permission to stay. Opposing that out of some sense of misdirected anger at the injustice of being a line jumper is the sign of a person who never made a mistake.

I’m not that sort of person, and I doubt most of the people reading this are, either.

I’ve criticized the president for many things. I will very likely continue to do so in the run up to November. I have not jumped on the Biden Bandwagon. Similarly, even though I lauded Trump for his ability to end Roe vs. Wade with some expertly chosen justices, his approach to immigration flies in the face of our American character. To suggest that mass deportation is even a possibility is repellent. It’s also impossible, unless we want to create a police state and round up people like we rooted out communists.

But Joe Biden deserves credit for doing something that is both humane, and necessary in a society that is already bereft of that quality.

Now, maybe we can convince him that babies deserve some compassion as well.


Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at