Soon, more than 1 million undocumented immigrants may be assured relief from deportation. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden Administration is considering a policy to grant the spouses of US citizens, who entered the country illegally, temporary legal status. This move would provide individuals with the opportunity to seek work permits and eventually a pathway to citizenship.

Despite criticism of the Biden Administration’s border policies, 71% of Americans favor or strongly favor providing undocumented immigrants an opportunity to become citizens—assuming they meet certain requirements. One proposed version of the policy would establish “parole in place” which guarantees protection from deportation for one year, with options for renewal. The Administration would likely require that applicants be married to US citizens for several years. As internal deliberations persist, specifics are uncertain. However, experts believe that the minimum required length of marriage would likely be 5 or 10 years.

Immigration reform for mixed-status couples has long been discussed in Democratic circles, but never acted on by a presidential administration. Last year, 86 Democrats sent a letter to President Biden advocating for a parole system, citing Section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act as evidence for such executive authority. The letter also referenced economic forecasts which project an increase of $16 billion in GDP and $5 billion in taxes if implemented.

As advocates fear the immigration policies of a potential second Trump Administration, President Biden is likely to continue receiving pressure to act in the coming months. By providing a parole in place program, the administration would ease the fears of millions of undocumented immigrants, their families, and their spouses that ICE might someday knock on their front door.