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  • Jairo Moreno

Biden's Proposal to Allow Work Authorization and Travel Permits for Undocumented Immigrants: A Comprehensive Analysis

The Biden administration has proposed measures to provide Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) and Advance Parole to certain undocumented immigrants in the U.S., allowing them to work and travel internationally while their green card applications are pending. Here, we will explore the specifics of the new regulations, their implications, the timeline for implementation, and the likelihood of their passage.

New Executive Order: Key Points

The executive order primarily focuses on facilitating undocumented immigrants, including those who entered the U.S. illegally, to obtain work permits and travel authorization without jeopardizing their ongoing immigration applications. The order aims to provide a pathway for these individuals to adjust their status to permanent residents (green card holders) under certain conditions, particularly if they have specific qualifications or circumstances, such as family ties or employment in high-skilled professions.

  1. Eligibility for EAD and Advance Parole

  • The new regulation would allow undocumented immigrants with pending adjustment of status applications to receive a combined EAD and Advance Parole card. This card would enable them to work legally in the U.S. and travel abroad without abandoning their green card applications.

  • Specific groups targeted include those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylum seekers, and family-based green card applicants.

  1. Advance Parole and Green Card Process

  • Advance Parole is a travel document that permits re-entry to the U.S. while maintaining the pending status of the green card application. The applicant must file Form I-131 for this document.

  • Upon returning to the U.S. with Advance Parole, the individual can continue the green card process without disrupting their adjustment of status application.

Implementation Timeline

The timeline for processing these applications and achieving permanent residency can vary. Typically, obtaining Advance Parole can take 3-5 months, but delays are common due to high demand and staffing issues at USCIS. The adjustment of status process itself averages 8-14 months, depending on various factors such as caseload and the specific type of green card being applied for.

Likelihood of Passage and Challenges

The success of this executive order depends on several factors, including political support, legal challenges, and administrative capacity. While the Biden administration shows a strong commitment to immigration reform, several hurdles remain:

  1. Political and Legal Obstacles

  • The executive order could face significant opposition from Congress, particularly from members who advocate for stricter immigration controls. Additionally, legal challenges could arise, questioning the executive branch's authority to implement such measures without legislative approval.

  • Courts may be called to rule on the legality of these provisions, potentially delaying or blocking implementation.

  1. Administrative Readiness

  • USCIS's ability to handle the increased workload efficiently is another critical factor. The agency has been grappling with backlogs and staffing shortages, which could impede timely processing of applications under the new order.


In conclusion, while the new executive order presents a promising opportunity for undocumented immigrants to secure work authorization and travel rights, its implementation is contingent upon overcoming significant political and administrative challenges. The timeline for more detailed information and potential enactment could span several months, with ongoing developments likely throughout 2024. Given the complexities and potential opposition, the passage and successful implementation of this order remain uncertain but hopeful.

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