President Obama’s Executive Action: Are you ready?

On November 20, 2014, President Barrack Obama announced a series of executive actions relating to border patrol, undocumented immigrants and deportation of felons. An executive action is an action by the President, without the support of Congress. Congress is trying its best to delay Obama’s actions, but at the end of the day there is not merit to their claims.

The purpose of his executive actions is to help immigrants who are already in the United States and part of our community, to stay in the country, pay taxes and remove fears of deportation. The White House estimated these new actions should effect nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants and they should be implemented within approximately 180 days from the announcement, but may take longer.

What can you expect?

President Obama’s executive actions will allow certain undocumented immigrants to apply for a temporary visa, streamline the immigration process and restructure border patrols and deportations.  According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there will be at least 3 programs expanded through these new executive actions.

  1. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be revamped. The upper age restriction will be removed, allowing individuals born prior to June 15, 1981 to apply for DACA, provided they meet all other requirements. This program requires continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010. Also, the deferred action period and employment authorization will be extended from the current 2 year term to 3 years. Visit USCIS to see if you qualify with the other requirements.
  2. The Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) will be created. This allows any undocumented individual who is a parent of a US citizen or permanent lawful resident in the US, born on or before November 20, 2014; has continuous residence since January 1, 2010; and is not an enforcement priority removal from the US to be eligible for temporary relief from deportation.
  3. The provisional waivers of unlawful presence will be expanded. Many undocumented individuals who are in the US already meet the eligibility requirements for citizenship or lawful permanent residence (LPR), if they left the US, requested and obtained an inadmissibility waiver for their unlawful presence in the US (3 and 10 year bars to return), and then apply for a visa through the US consular abroad.

Unfortunately, this process leads to uncertainty and prolonged periods away from your family, who are back in the United States. The new implementation will allow undocumented individuals to apply for the waiver before leaving the United States and then travel abroad after USCIS provisionally grants the waiver. This greatly reduces the time families are separated and provides confidence that you can return to the United States. The provisional waiver is also extended to add more eligible family members who can apply for the waiver.

A provisional waiver is granted upon a showing of “extreme hardship” to the US citizen or LPR. There is no specific definition for what constitutes an extreme hardship. In order to give more guidance on what exactly an “extreme hardship” is, USCIS has been directed to give meaning to the phrase.

It is important to understand that President Obama is not offering amnesty.

What can you do to prepare?

While the USCIS is not accepting any applications regarding the executive actions yet, if you think you are eligible you should start gathering the necessary documentation. This will include proof of identity, relationship to a US citizen or LPR, and continuous residence in the US over the last 5 years.

Come for a consultation to verify your eligibility. Desh Law can help you gather the necessary paperwork and help you prepare your initial filing, so the day the announcement is made we can hit the ground running!

Check back here and the USCIS website for updates!

Contacting a lawyer is always a good idea. Immigration a serious matter and should be treated as such. Desh Law will happily help in any way possible.