November 25, 2014
Executive Action on Immigration
Impact on Family-Based Petitions
On Thursday, November 20, President Obama announced a series of executive actions on U.S. immigration. These actions include benefits under deferred action initiatives and provisional unlawful presence waivers.
A. Deferred Action Initiatives
The executive actions addressed two changes to deferred action initiatives, including an extension of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and the creation of Deferred Action for Parents.
I. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) Extension
You can qualify for extended DACA if you:
- Came to the United States before turning 16 years old;
- Have lived in the U.S. since January 01, 2010;
- Have obtained a GED or high school certificate, or are currently enrolled in school;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense;
- Do not pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
- Can pass a background check.
If you qualify for extended DACA, you will have to complete a form, gather supporting documents, and pay a U.S. government fee to apply. If your application is approved, you will be granted protection from deportation and you will receive work authorization for three years, instead of two years as under the previous DACA application procedures. If you have a DACA renewal pending with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), your renewal will be granted for a period of three years. If you already have DACA status, you will not be automatically extended from two to three years. Applications for extended DACA for undocumented people in the U.S. will be available in approximately 90 days from the date of the announcement, on or around February 20, 2014.
II. Deferred Action for Parents (“DAP”)
The executive action also created a new deferred action benefit for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of any age.
You can apply for DAP if:
- You are an undocumented immigrant living in the U.S.;
- On the date of the announcement (11/20/14), you are the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
- You have been continuously present in the U.S. since January 01, 2010;
- You can pass a background check and are not an enforcement priority for removal to the U.S.; and
- Agree to pay taxes on income earned in the U.S.
Please contact our office to determine if you are an enforcement priority for removal. To apply for DAP, you will have to fill out a form and pay a fee to the U.S. government. The fee amount and form information have not yet been released for DAP. If your application is approved, you will be granted deferred action, which means you will be temporarily allowed to stay in the U.S. and will not be deported for three years. Parents of DACA recipients are not eligible to apply for DAP. The U.S. government will begin taking applications for DAP approximately 180 days from the announcement, on or around May 20, 2015.
B. Provisional Waivers of Unlawful Presence (Extension of I-601A)
The executive actions additionally extended the availability of Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers, which will enable undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who are spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens, or the spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident, to apply for a waiver that excuses their unlawful presence in the U.S. Once your unlawful presence is excused, you will be able to travel abroad and obtain an immigrant visa by interviewing at a U.S. Consulate.
You will be able to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver if you:
- Are 17 years of age or older;
- Have resided in the U.S. for at least 180 days;
- Are a spouse, parent, or child of a U.S. citizen, or the spouse, son, or daughter of a lawful permanent resident;
- Have an approved Form I-130;
- Have a pending immigrant visa case with the Department of State; and
- Can demonstrate that refusal of your admission to the United States will cause extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative.
If you qualify for the extended unlawful presence waiver, you will need to submit an application to the U.S. government, including a form, government fee, and supporting documentation. There is no exact timeline for when the application procedure will be updated.
C. If You Think You Qualify for a Benefit Under the Executive Action
If you believe you qualify for a benefit under the executive action, please note that you will not be able to take action on these benefits until the U.S. government issues additional information regarding these updated processes and procedures. If you believe you may qualify for one of the above initiatives, and while waiting for this information to be released, you can:
- Gather documentation that establishes your identity and your relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and the identity of your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative (for example, birth certificates and passports).
- Gather information that establishes your continuous residence in the U.S. for over the last five years or more (for example, lease or mortgage documentation, vehicle purchase documentation, and tax documentation).
- Conduct a criminal background check, as you will need to pass a background check with fingerprints and name checks against databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies.
If you have any questions about the executive actions, or you think you may qualify for a benefit under the updated processes and procedures, please contact our office to schedule a consultation by phone at (404) 522-1852, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will carefully review your case and determine if further action is needed at the time.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]