President Obama Announces Executive Action on Immigration

Statue-of-Liberty On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama unveiled his executive action plan on immigration. The President’s plan will affect an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.

Under President Obama’s executive action plan, parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present in the United States since January 1, 2010, 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. Deferred action is a form of immigration relief that protects from deportation.

The President’s 2012 initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be revised and expanded to eliminate the age cap, and to change the date that continuous presence must have started. Going forward, individuals who were brought to the United States as children can apply if they entered before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today. DACA relief will also be granted for three years. (Parents of DACA recipients, however, will not be eligible for deferred action under the new rule.)

According to the White House, three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are:

  • Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border: The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back. Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.
  • Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.
  • Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes: The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.

The details of this new policy are still being worked out. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is also expected to modify existing rules regarding legal immigration and issue new guidance shortly.

Attorneys at I.S. Law Firm have helped many immigrants to avoid deportation and legalize their status in the United States. To explore your immigration options, please contact us at +1-703-527-1779 or by e-mail: [email protected].