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Legal News

November 21, 2014

Executive Actions on Immigration

On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions to crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

These initiatives include:

  • 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 | Details
  • 1. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
    Who
    • Current DACA recipients seeking renewal and new applicants, including individuals born prior to June 15, 1981, who meet all other DACA guidelines.
    What
    • Allows individuals born prior to June 15, 1981, to apply for DACA (removing the upper age restriction) provided they meet all other guidelines.
    • Requires continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010, rather than the prior requirement of June 15, 2007.
    • Extends the deferred action period and employment authorization to three years from the current two years.
    When
    • Approximately 90 days following the President's November 20, 2014, announcement.
  • 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 | Details
Deferred action for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents
Who
  • 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.
What
  • Allows parents to request deferred action and 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.

Notes: USCIS will consider each request for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) on a case-by-case basis. Enforcement priorities include (but are not limited to) national security and public safety threats.

When
  • Approximately 180 days following the President's November 20, 2014, announcement.
  • 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 | Details
  • 3. Provisional waivers of unlawful presence
    Who
    • 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; and
      • The spouse and sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents.
    What
    • 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. There may be instances when the qualifying relative is not the petitioner.
    • Clarifies the meaning of the "extreme hardship" standard that must be met to obtain a waiver.

    Notes: Currently, only spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens are allowed to apply to obtain a provisional waiver if a visa is available. For more information about the waivers program, go to the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers page which will be updated over the next several months.

    When
    • Upon issuing of new guidelines and regulations.
  • Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs | Details
  • 4. Modernize, improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs
    Who
    • U.S. businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers.
    What

    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 (OPT) 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.
    When
    • Upon issuing necessary guidance and regulations
  • 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 | Details
5. Promote the naturalization process
Who
  • Lawful permanent residents eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship
What
  • 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.
Notes: Go to the U.S. Citizenship page to learn about the naturalization process and visit the Citizenship Resource Center to find naturalization test preparation resources. You can also visit the N-400, Application for Naturalization, page.
When
  • During 2015

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