President Biden’s Executive Action not only provides work authorization and protection against deportation for an estimated 8,000 immigrant Oregonians spouses, but it will also pave a direct pathway to permanent residency and, ultimately, citizenship. This will provide a sense of relief for many mixed status families who have been left in legal limbo for years because of our broken immigration system. 

Most Americans already assume that the spouse of a citizen is able to get work authorization and has a pathway to status and citizenship, but that is not the reality. 

The reality is that the broken system often forces families apart risking permanent separation from their children and spouses.

The reality is that the broken immigration process requires spouses to leave the country— with the possibility of not being allowed back into the United States for 10 years.

Today’s executive action by President Biden is an overdue common-sense change that brings reality closer to what Americans already think exists.

Today’s action will provide security and stability for thousands of Oregon families across the state, including here in Woodburn. 

Immigrant Oregonians are integral to Oregon’s growth and our economic prosperity and  a vital part of the state’s workforce. Our families are part of the fabric of our communities which is why our state has been a leader in creating smart, state-level policies to  ensure immigrants Oregonians can contribute to their families and communities such as our Universal Representation program which provides immigration legal services statewide and will be ready to support families who are now eligible for status. . 

For decades, our immigrant community has been organizing and fighting for meaningful immigration reform. Our community members have faced countless challenges and hate, yet they have continued to persevere, contribute to our society, enrich our culture, and build our economy. Their dreams and aspirations have never wavered, even in the face of adversity. 

Like DACA, this achievement is not just a policy change; it is a testament to the strength, resilience, and unity of our community members who have fought tirelessly, day in and day out, for these essential protections.

However, let us not forget that this action, as monumental as it is, is not nearly enough. It is a significant step forward, but it is far from the end result that we need and have been asking for at the federal level. President Biden must continue to use his Executive Power to provide comprehensive protections for the 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United States.