11/20/2014: OBAMA PASSES SWEEPING EXECUTIVE ACTIONS FOR IMMIGRANTS
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his plans for Executive Actions, which he signed the next day. Some of these components will be detailed in Presidential Memos, and others will be in effect by regulation.
Here are the some of the main points as we currently understand them:
- Deferred Action for Parents (DAP). Parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present since 1/1/10, and who pass background checks and pay taxes, will be eligible to apply for deferred action, which will be granted for a 3-year period. The plan is to stand this up within 180 days (for applications to be accepted). Note that parents of DACA recipients are not eligible.
- Expansion of DACA. DACA will be revised to get rid of the age cap, and to change the date that continuous presence must have started to 1/1/10. It also will be granted for 3 years (including those with pending renewal applications). Ready in 90 days.
- Pending Proceedings. There will be a review of cases currently under proceedings to see who is prima facie eligible for the relief stated in this program, and those cases will be closed.
- I-601a Waivers. The provisional waiver will be expanded to include spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). The definition of extreme hardship will be expanded and clarified.
- Foreign Entrepreneurs. Certain investors will be able to be paroled into the U.S., or be granted parole in place if already in the United States, for job creation (no further details at this time). This will be done by regulation. Also, entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors, and founders will be eligible for national interest waivers. This will be implemented through policy guidance.
- Timing of Filing for Adjustment of Status. The ability of individuals with an approved employment-based immigrant petition who are caught in the quota backlogs to file for adjustment of status will be advanced to permit them to obtain the benefits of a pending adjustment. This is expected to impact about 410,000 people. This will be done by regulation.
- H-4 EADs. Spouses of H1B visa holders will be able to obtain work permits. The regulation will be finalized, probably in December or January.
- OPT. The length of time in OPT for STEM graduates will be expanded and the relationship between the student and the school will be strengthened for this period. Other changes, such as allowing STEM OPT post-master’s degree where only the first degree is in a STEM field is under consideration. This will be done by regulation.
- Enforcement Priorities. Many of the existing memos on enforcement priorities and prosecutorial discretion will be replaced by a new memo that will name three enforcement priorities, which will be operational immediately:
- Suspected terrorists, convicted felons (including aggravated felonies), convicted gang members, and people apprehended on the border;
- People convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors, and very recent entrants (i.e., those who entered after 1/1/14);
- Those who, after 1/1/14, failed to leave under a removal order or returned after removal.
- State and Local. Secure Communities will be discontinued and replaced by a Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). What it means that Secure Communities will be discontinued is unclear. Unclear if they will stop fingerprinting people and unplug the technology and interoperability of the federal and local databases. Detainers will be discontinued for all except national security cases. Instead of detainers, there will be a request for notification when a law enforcement entity is about to release a convicted criminal.
8/3/12 UPDATE: Deferred Action Process
USCIS to begin accepting requests for consideration of deferred action on August 15, 2012.
The Dept. of Homeland Security today provided additional information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process. USCIS expects to make all forms, instructions, and additional information relevant to to the deferred action process available on August 15, 2012. It is important to note that this process is not yet in effect and individuals should not request consideration of deferred action before August 15, 2012. Requests submitted before August 15, 2012 will be rejected.
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services shared the following information in its announcement:
Requestors – those in removal proceedings, those with final orders, and those who have never been in removal proceedings – will be able to affirmatively request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals with USCIS. Requestors will mail their deferred action request together with an application for an employment authorization document and all applicable fees. All requestors must also provide biometrics and undergo background checks. Additional information regarding this process will be made available on www.uscis.gov on August 15, 2012.
“Dream Act Lite”
On June 15, 2012 the Department of Homeland Security formally announced that it will offer deferred action to “DREAMers.” Some are calling this Executive Decision, “Dream Act – Lite,” as it purports to offer what President Obama calls, “a temporary stop gap measure,” which will allow young immigrants relief until the controversial DREAM Act is passed.
Eligible individuals must:
- Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16;
- Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June, 15 2012;
- Have maintained continuous residence;
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or multiple minor misdemeanors;
- Be currently in school, graduated or have a GED, or be a honorably discharged veteran.
- The deferred action offer will be available to those in proceedings, as well as to those who apply affirmatively.
This policy is for deferred action, which is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an immigrant granted deferred action will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not absolve individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.
Under existing regulations, an individual who has been granted deferred action is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” Travel may be authorized under this policy but that issue has not yet been addressed.
Grants of deferred action will be issued in increments of two years. At the expiration of the two year period, the grant of deferred action can be renewed, pending a review of the individual case.
USCIS will implement this process within 60 days of this announcement and in the coming weeks. More information will become available as to the procedure and guidelines.
Subhani & Subhani, LLC is a leading immigration law firm headquartered in Atlanta, GA. We help businesses, families, and individuals with the immigration process and are proud to offer an internet site to help us better serve our clients. In our News Update section, we offer up-to-date information on the latest in immigration news. We provide this news as a service to the community; it should not be construed as legal advice, or as creating a legal attorney/client relationship.
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