What’s Inside Obama’s New Immigration Law?

FamilyYesterday, President Barack Obama introduced a new immigration policy through executive action. Today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has provided us with some more detail about who might be eligible for deferred action and work permits. (The new policy does not grant permanent residence, green cards, or U.S. Citizenship).

***As of 11/21 /14 You can not yet apply for any of the new benefits under Obama’s New Immigration Policy. You may need to wait 90 or 180 days.***

There are two main aspects to the new policy. The first is an expansion of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ) Program.  This program has been in place for over two years already and has allowed hundreds of thousands of undocumented students who entered the country as children to register and obtain work permits. Unfortunately, the original policy only applied to people who were under the age of 30. That requirement will be removed!! Which means that no matter how old you are, if you entered the U.S. before you were age 16 and were continuously present in the U.S.  from January 2010 until now you might be eligible for a work permit! USCIS says they are likely to begin accepting requests for this expanded DACA program in about three months so stay tuned to the USCIS.gov website or speak with an immigration attorney or a trusted non-profit organization such as the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, http://www.nwirp.org/.

From USCIS Webpage on 11/21/2014 http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction

Who
  • Current DACA recipients seeking renewal and new applicants, including individuals born prior to June 15, 1981, who meet all other DACA guidelines.
What
  • Allows individuals born prior to June 15, 1981, to apply for DACA (removing the upper age restriction) provided they meet all other guidelines.
  • Requires continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010, rather than the prior requirement of June 15, 2007.
  • Extends the deferred action period and employment authorization to three years from the current two years.
When
  • Approximately 90 days following the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement.

 

The second and largest aspect of the new policy will be the granting of deferred action to undocumented parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents who have been in the country for 5 years or more.  There is a potential for this to affect millions of individuals. Please note that not everyone will be eligible, but millions will. USCIS estimates that it will be another six months before anyone can start applying for this deferred action but if you think you might be eligible start gathering proof of your physical presence in the U.S. and get your U.S. taxes back filed if necessary. Speak with an immigration attorney or trusted non-profit organization to see if you might be eligible.

 

From USCIS Website on 11/21/2014 http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction

Who
  • An undocumented individual living in the United States who, on the date of the announcement, is the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and who meets the guidelines listed below.
What
  • Allows parents to request deferred action and employment authorization if they:
  • Have continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010;
  • Are the parents of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident born on or before November 20, 2014; and
  • Are not an enforcement priority for removal from the United States, pursuant to the November 20, 2014, Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum.

Notes: USCIS will consider each request for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) on a case-by-case basis. Enforcement priorities include (but are not limited to) national security and public safety threats.

When
  • Approximately 180 days following the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement.

There will also be an expansion of our skilled worker immigration policies and naturalization promotion. For more information check out the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

Andre Olivie is a Seattle-based immigration attorney helping families and individuals apply for asylum, marriage visas, green cards and U.S. citizenship.