1) DACA (DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS)This is the program created in 2012, focusing on undocumented people who came to the U.S. before the age of 16, and had continuously resided in the U.S. since 2007; the “Dreamers.”
• Expands the program to include those who have resided in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2010 (used to be since June 15, 2007);
• No upper age limit (initially limited to people under the age of 31)
• Beneficiaries receive deferred action on deportation and employment authorization for 3 years (used to be 2).
** Other requirements are the same, including entry before the age of 16, high school graduation and criminal bars.
2) DAPA (DEFERRED ACTION FOR PARENTS OF AMERICANS AND LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS)This is a new program, expanding the DACA benefits to parents of U.S. citizens and of legal permanent residents who meet the following criteria:
• 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.
3) PROVISIONAL WAIVERS OF UNLAWFUL PRESENCE (I-601A WAIVER)This initiative is for undocumented individuals who have resided unlawfully in the United States for at least 180 days and who are the spouses, sons or daughters of U.S. citizens, or the spouses, sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents. Even though the alien is still going to have to depart the U.S. to complete the visa process, this provisional waiver significantly reduces the amount of time the family will be separated.
• Previously, only spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens were eligible for the provisional waiver.
4) EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRATION CHANGESThe executive action includes some changes and updates to the employment-based visa process that are meant to modernize, improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant programs in order to grow the economy and create jobs.
I THINK I QUALIFY... WHERE DO I SIGN?!?
These programs are NOT expected to be implemented for another 90-180 days. Be cautious of anyone offering to fill out applications or “get you in line.” Beware of scams, especially from notarios and others who prey on the immigrant community.
SO WHAT CAN I DO NOW? ANYTHING?
Yes! There is something you can start doing now. We know that applicants will need to have documentation proving things like when they arrived and how long they have been residing in the U.S. So start gathering those documents now. They could include things like rent receipts, utility bills, school records, medical records, taxes and pay stubs, just to name a few. Also, there will be government fees for these applications, so you can start saving. As an example, the current DACA application fee is $465.00.
GREAT, SO MY FEAR OF DEPORTATION IS FINALLY OVER, RIGHT?
Unfortunately, these initiatives are a result of executive action, not legislation passed by Congress and signed into law. President Obama has the authority to take these steps, but they do not provide a permanent solution. These programs came into existence by the man in the White House, and they can be taken away with the stroke of a pen by the next President. These programs don’t create a path to citizenship; they only offer temporary relief from deportation, and some other temporary benefits such as work authorization. We need to keep fighting for permanent and comprehensive immigration reform! So keep the pressure on Congress to do what the American people have been demanding for years. It’s the right thing to do, and is in the best interests of us all!
I wanted this post to be mainly informational, but it's also my blog so I'm entitled to color it with my personal feelings on immigration reform, which are as much about morality as they are about economics. And I will conclude with the President's concluding words last night:
Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future?
Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works together to keep them together? …
That is what this debate is all about.
If you have any questions about these programs, please feel free to contact us at:
Law Office of Andrew Nietor
110 West C Street, Suite 2105
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 794-2263 (fax)www.nietorlaw.com
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