President Obama’s Executive Action

As many of you know, last night President Obama announced that he will seek to reform a number of areas within our country’s immigration system through executive action.  This message will briefly summarize some of the changes.  Please stay tuned for further details as they develop.

Expanded Deferred Action for Parents of USCs and LPRs; Expanded “DACA”:

President Obama’s most far-reaching and controversial decision will protect from deportation parents of US citizens and permanent residents who can demonstrate that they have been present in the United States since January 1, 2010.  These individuals will also receive work authorization.  This could benefit up to an estimated 4.4. million people.

President Obama also announced the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (“DACA”) program which previously protected and provided work authorization to many who arrived in the United States before they were 16.  Most significantly, the Obama administration is eliminating the “age-cap” which previously limited DACA eligibility to only those born after June 15, 1981.

At this time it appears that the government will begin accepting applications for these programs in the spring of 2015.

Business Immigration Reform:

President Obama has also instructed agencies to amend regulations and reform the manner in which the law is applied in a variety of ways which should benefit foreign-born, highly skilled workers.  Among other things, the Obama administration will seek to expand and lengthen the OPT program for students, provide more green card opportunities for entrepreneurs and those running start-ups, and provide for greater job portability for those forced to wait lengthy periods of time for green cards as a result of visa backlogs.

Enforcement:

The President will direct Immigration & Customs Enforcement to focus primarily on the apprehension and removal of felons, those convicted of multiple and/or “serious” misdemeanors, and recent arrivals. Generally speaking, those present without authorization in the United States without criminal records will “not be priorities for removal.”

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Please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone ((212) 901-3799) or email (michael@mzglaw.com) with any questions about the changes being implemented though President Obama’s executive action and how my office may be able to help.

 

 

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