On November 20, 2014, President Obama authorized a number of significant immigration benefits under the Executive authority. As the President explained in his speech, he did this because Congress has failed to act on immigration reform, and he had promised to do what he could under the current law to reform America’s immigration system in the meantime. The reforms have not yet been implemented, and USCIS (the immigration benefits agency) is not yet accepting applications for any of the benefits the President announced.
Our firm is planning a number of informational seminars on the executive action on immigration reform. Please consider signing up for one of the sessions to learn about the following initiatives by the President:
· Expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the next 90 days:
o By removing the age limit to include people of any age provided they otherwise qualify for DACA;
o By moving the date that the person had to be in the country from June 15, 2007 up to January 1, 2010;
o By increasing the period of deferred action and work authorization from 2 years up to 3 years.
· Creation of a Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program in the next 180 days which will allow parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010 and who are in unlawful status to obtain deferred action and work authorization.
· Expansion of the Provisional Waiver program to include spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, which will allow them to use the I-601A process to waive the 3 and 10 year family separation penalty bars (also called unlawful presence bars) while in the U.S. instead of being separated from family members while the waiver is being processed. There is no announced timeline for this process, but a regulation must be issued which is likely to take several months.
· Modernize, improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant programs in several areas including:
o Developing a better method to allocate immigrant visas to ensure all visas authorized are issued;
o Modify the Visa Bulletin system to more simply and reliably make visa availability determinations;
o Provide relief to employment based immigrants who are delayed by priority date backlogs by creating some program to allow filing of an adjustment of status application, which can provide work authorization and increased job portability;
o Clarify that national interest waivers may be granted to foreign investors, researchers and founders of start up enterprises to benefit the U.S. economy;
o Authorize parole to certain investors, 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 hold promise of innovation and job creation through development of new technologies or cutting edge research;
o Finalize a rule to provide work authorization to H-4 spouses of H-1B workers who are on the path to lawful permanent resident status.
o Expand regulations on the use of OPT for foreign students;
o Provide clear guidance on specialized knowledge in the L-1B program to bring greater clarity and integrity to the program.
· Promote citizenship education, allow payment of the naturalization fee by credit card, and provide expanded fee waivers.
You can sign up for a seminar by visiting our website: http://www.entrylaw.com/seminars/
You can receive updates on the executive action on the USCIS website: http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction