President Joe Biden marked the anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, with the announcement of two new policies aimed at undocumented individuals in the country. These policies aim to make it easier for many of them to live and work in the U.S. and opens up a more promising path toward permanently living in the country.

Giving ‘Dreamers’ a path to permanent residency

On June 18, the 12-year anniversary of the DACA program, Biden announced a new policy that would ease the path to work visas and eventual permanent residency for many people living in the United States under the program. Under Biden’s new policy, many DACA participants who have finished college will now see a streamlined process to apply for work visas. They will no longer have to leave the U.S. to make their applications, making it significantly easier for employers to hire them. While employed, Dreamers could then eventually apply for green cards through their employers.

Created by executive action by then-President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA currently allows for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to register with the government in order to remain in the United States and to legally work. However, the program has generally been seen as a temporary measure that could end; the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried to shut down DACA, and the program has been paused and reinstated by the courts at various times. This has left DACA participants, known as Dreamers, in an uncertain legal position. The new Biden policy could give many of the approximately 500,000 Dreamers enrolled in DACA permanent legal residency regardless of whether DACA continues.

Protecting undocumented spouses and children

Biden announced a second new policy aimed at the undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens. This second policy would allow undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. without having to first leave the country. This policy, which would apply to undocumented spouses who have lived in the United States for 10 years, could protect up to 500,000 people from the threat of deportation. The administration has framed this new policy as “new action to keep families together.”

In this election year, the Biden administration has been under pressure to make progress on immigration, both because the president has been criticized by both parties for his handling of the southern border and because the immigration issue may influence his chances of winning swing states such as Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. Congress, meanwhile, has failed for many years to pass comprehensive immigration reform, leaving presidents of both parties to take executive action to address the complicated issues of immigration policy.

Biden’s new policies are likely to face opposition from immigration hardliners and potential court challenges as well. Nevertheless, the new initiatives, if successful, could make life easier for hundreds of thousands of people who want to remain in the U.S.