President Obama revealed his daring and courageous Executive Order on immigration tonight. We will address its many complexities and questions in the days to come. For now, though, it is important to get the word out on some of the many wonderful provisions it will implement, including:
Protection from Deportation and Removal for Millions of Illegal Parents
If you are a parent of a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, you may be eligible to apply for Deferred Action. Deferred Action is what people who have DACA status presently enjoy. It basically protects you from deportation and allows you to apply for work authorization. You do have to pass a background check and you do have to demonstate continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010. The protected status will be for three years.
DACA rules no longer have age limit, and residence requirement relaxed
Under the Executive Order, applicants for DACA no longer have to be below a certain age. Additionally, the residence cut off date has been pushed back from June 15, 2007 to January 1, 2010. Also, DACA will be granted for a period of three years. Interestingly, though, and to the muted disappointment of many, DACA was not broadened to include parents of DACA grantees.
Provisional Waiver Expanded to Include Sons and Daughters
Under the current waiver program, only spouses and minor children of United States Citizens are eligble to file for a provisional waiver under I-601A. That will soon change, as the class of eligible applicants has been opened to allow sons and daughters of not only US Citizens but also Green Card Holders to apply for a wavier. Of course, extreme hardship must still be proven in order for the unlawful presence bar to be waived.
Prosecutorial Discretion Guidelines Revised
There will be a reprioritization of enforcement targets, which will hopefully remove individuals with no criminal record from the aggressive efforts of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
There are notable provisions as well which will be discussed in the near future including the promotion of naturalization as well as the future implementation of a rule authorizing H-4 holders (depednents of H-1s) to finally apply for work authorization!
We would encourage anybody interested in applying for protection or benefits under the Executive Action to consult with our office now. We do want to emphasize that the Order has not yet taken effect and the implementing rules and guidelines have yet to be issued. However, there are many preparatory steps and preliminary eligility questions that need to be addressed. Make no mistake: these are monumental, huge changes in the immigration world. However, there are many nuances and layers to immigration law that only experienced immigration attorneys perceive. Don't mess up your shot at protecting yourself or finally getting status through the poor choice of an attorney.