SUMMARY OF INITIATIVES UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ORDER

In a crucial speech last night, President Obama took a courageous step toward reforming our immigration system. This news update focuses exclusively on those steps. We believe that many of our clients and their families will be helped under the new policies that the Obama Administration announced. These new policies range from a new program called Deferred Action for Parents (DAP) to new enforcement policies and steps to improve adjudication of business and family visas. Below is a summary of these initiatives. Note that these initiatives have not yet been implemented. Additionally, USCIS is NOT accepting any requests or applications at this time. Stay tuned to updates from Brenman Immigration Law firm, and share them with your friends and family members on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus so that they can stay informed as and when the administration rolls out these initiatives.

SUMMARY OF INITIATIVES UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ORDER

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Reform: Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years

  • A New Deferred Action for Parental Accountability Program: Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, provided they pass required background checks

  • Reforming the Waiver Process: Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens

  • Legal Immigration Reform: Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs

  • Administrative Reform: Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Reform:

This reform applies to current DACA recipients seeking renewal and new applicants, including individuals born prior to June 15, 1981, who meet all other DACA guidelines. It allows individuals born prior to June 15, 1981, to apply for DACA, and removes the upper age restriction provided that they meet all other guidelines.

The reformed DACA requires continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010, rather than the prior requirement of June 15, 2007. It also extends the deferred action period and employment authorization to three years from the current two years. The approximate date when such individuals can start applying for DACA is 90 days from President Obama’s announcement last night.

A New Deferred Action for Parental Accountability Program:

Under this new DAPA, an undocumented individual living in the United States who, on the date of the announcement, is the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and who meets the guidelines listed below can request for deferred action and apply for employment authorization if they:

  • 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, pursuant to the November 20, 2014, Policies for the Apprehension,Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum.

The approximate date when such individuals can start applying for DAPA is 180 days from President Obama’s announcement last night.

Reforming the Waiver Process:

Undocumented individuals who have resided unlawfully in the United States for at least 180 days and who are the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens or spouse and sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents will now be able to apply for a provisional waiver.

This expands the provisional waiver program announced in 2013 by allowing the spouses, sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens to get a waiver if a visa is available. Currently, only spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens are allowed to apply to obtain a provisional waiver if a visa is available.

Legal Immigration Reform:

Legal immigrants have continued to face serious problems in changing jobs, starting new businesses, and carrying on with their lives otherwise. Legal immigration reform will modernize, improve, and clarify the business based immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to address these issues, grow our economy, and create new jobs.

USCIS will:

  • Work with the Department of State to develop a method to allocate immigrant visas to ensure that all immigrant visas authorized by Congress are issued to eligible individuals when there is sufficient demand for such visas.

  • Work with the Department of State to modify the Visa Bulletin system to more simply and reliably make determinations of visa availability.

  • Provide clarity on adjustment portability to remove unnecessary restrictions on natural career progression and general job mobility to provide relief to workers facing lengthy adjustment delays.

  • Clarify the standard by which a national interest waiver may be granted to foreign inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises to benefit the U.S economy.

  • Authorize parole, on a case-by-case basis, to eligible inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises who may not yet qualify for a national interest waiver, but who:

  • Have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing; or

  • Otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting-edge research.

  • Finalize a rule to provide work authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B visa holders who are on the path to lawful permanent resident status.

  • Work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop regulations for notice and comment to expand and extend the use of optional practical training for foreign students, consistent with existing law.

  • Provide clear, consolidated guidance on the meaning of “specialized knowledge” to bring greater clarity and integrity to the L-1B program, improve consistency in adjudications, and enhance companies’ confidence in the program.

Administrative Reform

For Lawful Permanent Residents eligible to apply for citizenship, the executive order seeks to

  • Promote citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents.

  • Allow naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee.

  • Assess potential for partial fee waivers in the next biennial fee study.

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