Biden immigration executive order impacts Illinois congresswoman: 'today was so important'

Chicago Congresswoman Delia Ramirez and her husband Boris Hernandez were present at the White House for Tuesday's announcement of President Joe Biden’s new executive order on immigration.

Ramirez is the only member of Congress in a "mixed-status" family, making the executive order both political and personal for her.

President Biden signed the executive order amid a tight political race with Donald Trump and a need to shore up support from progressives. The order provides protective status to undocumented spouses of American citizens who have been in the country for ten years or more.

"These couples have been raising families, paying taxes, going to church, contributing to our country for ten years or more," Biden said during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

Ramirez praised the move, saying it provides relief for families like hers, whose spouses live in the shadows for fear of deportation.

"There’s this assumption that if you marry a U.S. citizen you are able to qualify for legal permanent residency," Ramirez said. "And the reality is that’s not true. We’ve been at it for three years already and we’re still waiting, and this will allow us to get extended protections while we wait."

"I’m excited for those that do not have the same resources we have, it will certainly facilitate the same process for them," Hernandez added.


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Biden noted that this and an earlier executive order cracking down on asylum seekers at the border would have been unnecessary had House Republicans not killed a bipartisan immigration package.

"Republicans walked away for the most petty of reasons—Donald Trump got on the phone and told them, ‘Don’t,’" Biden said.

Ramirez, who has been critical of Biden’s border policy, said today’s move is a first step toward protecting residents who have been here for years, like her husband.

"Someone that’s been in this country since the age of 14, has spent his life contributing to the community. It’s nerve-wracking, which is exactly why today was so important," Ramirez said.

Today’s move drew expected condemnation from the GOP. Downstate Illinois Representative Mary Miller said, "Joe Biden continues to put illegal immigrants first and America last."

The executive order will go into effect later this summer.