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About 130,000 in Florida to benefit from sweeping new immigration plan

New immigration program offers legal status to 500,000 people
New immigration program offers legal status to 500,000 people 02:38

MIAMI - Marrying an American citizen is typically a fast track to U.S. citizenship when the person enters the country legally, but for immigrants who cross the border illegally, it has been much more difficult.

All that has just changed with the stroke of President Biden's pen on a new executive order. 

"This makes me the happiest woman in the world," said nearly crying Darlin Bonilla. She is one of the thousand immigrants in South Florida who benefits by the announcement made by the president on Tuesday.

"This executive action will help keep American families united and strengthen our economy," he said.

"I have always lived in fear," said Bonilla, a native from Honduras who has lived in the U.S. for 25 years with the last five married to Carlos Zamora, a U.S. Citizen.

"There's a fear immigration will come for them, or immigration (will) send a deportation letter," said Zamora.  

That may change with the program known as PIP, which stands for "Parole in Place."

"This already existed," said Morella Aguado, an immigration attorney in South Florida.  She said the benefit of the program now is that Bonilla will not have to travel abroad.

"The big difference is that is inside the United States, you do not have to travel to your home country," said Aguado. 

This executive order is considered the largest government program for undocumented immigrants since the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. 

Immigration attorney Morella Aguado says there are two basic requirements, "You have to be married to a U.S. citizen and you have to have resided for at least 10 years (in the U.S) by the date of June 17th, 2024."  

According to the Florida Policy Institute, about 130,000 undocumented people are married to American citizens in Florida. 

CBS News Miami asked Blas Nunez Beta, Deputy Assistant to President Biden questions unclear about the executive order, like when will the program go into effect?

"Before the end of the summer, we anticipate that individuals will be able to start applying," said Nunez Beta.

As far as how much will people have to pay for the benefit, "There will be a fee associated with this application," he said adding that the information will be established in the USCIS page. 

The Biden Administration also announced that it would make it easier and quicker for undocumented DACA college graduates to get temporary worker visas through job offers after getting higher-education degrees. 

As far as Bonilla, she said the future looks bright, at least for now. 

"I have waited for this moment for so many years," she said. 

Donald Trump's Campaign issued a statement saying:

"Biden's mass amnesty plan will undoubtedly lead to a greater surge in migrant crime, cost taxpayers millions of dollars they cannot afford and overwhelm public services to fund benefits for illegals."

The ones who qualified for the program are people with no criminal record and who have resided in the U.S. for at least 10 years.  

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