Wednesday Briefing: Biden’s plan to help 500,000 immigrants

Also, Thailand’s vote to legalize same-sex marriage.
Morning Briefing: Asia Pacific Edition

June 19, 2024

Good morning. We’re covering a U.S. move to give legal protections to 500,000 immigrants and Thailand’s vote to legalize same-sex marriage.

Plus, South Korea’s saving groups.

President Biden, in a dark suit and tie, staring off to the side. He is surrounded by other men in suits.
President Biden’s election-year move will give some 500,000 people a pathway to citizenship. Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Biden will give protections to undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens

President Biden announced sweeping new legal protections yesterday for undocumented immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for years and are married to Americans. It is one of the most expansive presidential actions to protect immigrants in more than a decade.

Under the new policy, 500,000 people would be shielded from deportation, given work permits and offered a pathway to citizenship. The benefits would also extend to the roughly 50,000 children of undocumented spouses who became stepchildren to American citizens. Biden administration officials said they expected the program to launch by the end of the summer.

“These couples have been raising families, sending their kids to church and school, paying taxes, contributing to our country,” Biden said at the White House. “They’re living in the United States all this time with fear and uncertainty. We can fix that.”

Immediately after the announcement, allies of Donald Trump accused Biden of being weak on the border. Speaker Mike Johnson said the president was “granting amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.”

Context: The move comes just two weeks after Biden imposed a major crackdown at the U.S.-Mexico border, cutting off access to asylum for people who crossed into the U.S. illegally. Polls show Americans want tougher policies on immigration.

A crowd in Bangkok shouts and waves rainbow flags in celebration.
Celebrating the passing of the marriage equality bill in Bangkok yesterday. Patipat Janthong/Reuters

Thai lawmakers approved same-sex marriage

Thai lawmakers passed a marriage equality bill yesterday, putting the country on a clear path to becoming the first in Southeast Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

The bill would become law after it is reviewed by a Senate committee and the Constitutional Court and gets royal assent from the king, a formality that is widely expected to be granted.

Hundreds of supporters gathered in downtown Bangkok to celebrate the milestone.

Details: The bill calls marriage a partnership between two people age 18 and above, without specifying their genders. The bill also gives L.G.B.T.Q. couples equal rights to adopt children, claim tax allowances, inherit property and give consent for medical treatment when their partners are incapacitated.

A satellite image of the temporary pier in Gaza.
A satellite image of the temporary pier in Gaza earlier this month. Maxar Technologies, via Reuters

The U.S. aid pier in Gaza is failing

The $230 million temporary pier that the U.S. military built to rush humanitarian aid to Gaza has largely failed in its mission, aid organizations say. Operations will probably end weeks earlier than originally expected.

The pier was never supposed to be more than a stopgap measure, but even its modest goals are likely to fall short, some U.S. officials said. In the month since the pier was installed, it has been in service for about 10 days. The rest of the time, the pier was being repaired after rough seas broke it apart, was detached to avoid further damage or was paused because of security concerns.

Arms: Two top Democrats approved the Biden administration’s plan for a major sale of F-15 jets to Israel, one of the largest U.S. arms sales to the country in years.


President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un stand on what appears to be an airport runway.
A photo released by the Kremlin shows President Vladimir Putin with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. Kremlin, via Reuters
  • South Korea: Doctors went on a one-day strike in the latest protest against the government’s plan to train more physicians.
  • U.S.: A war crimes hearing at Guantánamo Bay gave the public a virtual tour of a secret C.I.A. “black site,” including a windowless cell called Quiet Room 4.
  • Entertainment: Justin Timberlake was arrested in New York and charged with driving while intoxicated.


A basketball player surrounded by other players holding up a trophy.
The Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, center. Brian Fluharty/USA Today Sports, via Reuters


An illustration of a scrapbook with one image showing three seated women laughing and another depicting three women in a pool looking out at the ocean.
Arsh Raziuddin

In South Korea, friends and families form groups to help each other save for big purchases. Each member of the group, which is known as a gyemoim, contributes somewhere between $10 and $50 each month. This way, they can save for vacations, meals and other social activities equally so everyone can participate, regardless of personal budgets.

Lives lived: Anouk Aimée, the star of Claude Lelouch's “A Man and a Woman,” died at 92.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, which is made possible through subscriber support. Subscribe to The New York Times.


An animated triptych shows three mothers with a child. From left, the mother lifts her child into her arms; a woman walks with her child down a covered walkway; and in the third a woman carries her child in her arms as she walks.

China wants more babies. Mothers aren’t so sure.

President Xi Jinping has urged women to “play their unique role in carrying forward the traditional virtues of the Chinese nation” by having more children.

We spoke with three Chinese mothers, each of whom is raising one young child, who said they didn’t want more kids — no matter what their husbands say, or what incentives the Chinese government is dangling.

“I divide my time, energy and money into different parts, saving the biggest part for myself, then the rest go to my parents, husband and son,” said Joyce Zhao, 29, who works at one of the biggest tech companies in China and wants to begin studying to take the civil servant exam. “I can’t let them take all of me.”


Several bars topped with sliced strawberries coated in gelatin.
David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Cook: Millie Peartree revamped the old-fashioned strawberry pretzel salad, turning it into bars.

Read: Time-management experts actually use these eight productivity books.

Travel: Several tourists have died recently from heat-related sickness. Here are tips to stay safe.

Decorate: Create more space in a small home.

Play: Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

That’s it for today. See you tomorrow. — Amelia

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