Presidential Executive Order for Undocumented Immigrants
On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced new executive actions he is taking in order to give some relief to the millions of undocumented immigrants now living in the shadows in the United States. The Executive Order will take effect as of January 5, 2015.
Although there are several provisions of the Executive Order, the provision that is most prominent is the DAPA provision or the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program; under this program, undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States since at least and continuously from January 1, 2010, who are parents of a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident child, who are willing to pay taxes and who passes a background check, can apply for deferred action from deportation, and employment authorization for a three year period. Please note that DAPA is only a temporary measure for a period of three years and only protects the undocumented immigrant from deportation for that period. (Subject to extension by the next President).
The Executive Order also made some changes to the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Now under the Executive Order, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before their 16th birthday, who have been continuously present since at least January 1, 2010, who have attended or are attending school in the U.S. or are enlisted in the Military and who can pass a background check can now apply for DACA as well, without any limitation to how old they now.
There are several other provisions to the Executive Order, such as an expansion to provision waivers for undocumented immigrants who have accrued unlawful presence. Under the new Executive Order, spouses and children of lawful permanent residents may also file for provisional waivers of unlawful status.
The President also charged the Department of Homeland Security to amend its apprehension, detention and removal policy for undocumented immigrants. (See our next Blog on Removal Priorities).
It is important to note that the Executive Order is new. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service reports that they will be working on implementing these initiatives in the next few months and report that they anticipate having instructions, explanations, forms and regulations for each initiative of the Executive Order beginning in March of 2015 for DACA and May of 2015 for DAPA and the provisional waiver.
The only action that undocumented immigrants should be taking at this time is to gather information to prove their continuous presence in the United States since January 1, 2010, and that they have the required relationship to the U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident. Please do not pay anyone for any services of sending out applications as there is nothing to be done just yet.
If you believe you are eligible for any of the provisions of the President’s Executive Order, please contact Gonzalez Law Offices at 401-432-7500 and schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
Written by: Deborah Gonzalez