Waiting on implementation of Obama’s executive action immigration reform

Last week President Obama announced his plans to take executive action related to the enforcement of immigration laws. Key in those announcements were:

  • Prioritizing the deportation of ‘felons over families’
  • Issuance of employment authorization to select individuals
  • Establishing a framework that would allow certain undocumented immigrants to remain in US without fear of deportation if they pass a criminal background check and pay taxes

Core Changes

The United States and Immigration Services website details the initiatives as follows:

  • Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years
  • Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been present in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, provided they pass required background checks
  • Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs
  • Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee

Waiting Game

Currently, none of these proposals have been implemented. Based on current chatter, it appears that it will be a few months, likely after the new year, before any of these changes are implemented.

So, at this point we cannot provide specific advice or assist any clients in filings related to the executive action on immigration. However, there are preparatory steps individuals can take to prepare.

Documents you should have ready for upcoming executive action on immigration

While the specifics have yet to be detailed, it is likely that certain documentation will be useful in taking advantage of the forthcoming executive action.

Individuals interested in taking advantage of the benefits of the executive action should gather documents demonstrating identity, any relationships with U.S. citizens and lawful residents and evidence demonstrating a continuous residence in the united states for 5 years or more. Having these documents ready prior to contacting an attorney to assist you further will likely decrease the amount of time it takes to process your case.

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