The President promised in 2008 that it was time to reform the immigration system, but unfortunately, due to congressional inaction, comprehensive immigration reform has not passed. The President has used the powers of his office to issue a series of executive actions that re-start the conversation of comprehensive immigration reform and will aid over 4 million to obtain documentation. This is not the Dream Act and is not a new law.
The New Executive Action embraces areas of border security, efficiency in immigration petitions, tougher removal proceedings, and an expansion of the post-study program for foreign students.
An Expanded Deferred Action for Children (DACA) and a new Deferred Action for Parents of Citizens (DAPA) are the flagships of the President’s move. Unfortunately, parents of the Dreamers will not be eligible under the current proposal.
The 2012 program provided work authorizations to people, that arrived before age 16, and who were under age 31; that finished high school or obtained a GED and had no major criminal incidents. Previous to the current announcement, the individuals had to have arrived before 2007 to the United States.
The 2014 Deferred Action for children is expanded including people who arrived before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.
The 2014 program will also allow parents of U.S. Citizens to obtain work authorization as long as they “pay taxes” and pass a background check. To be eligible, these parents should have arrived before January 1, 2010, and prove that their child was born before Nov 20, 2014.
The White House reported that the new DACA would be available within 90 days of the executive action, and the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents) will begin 180 days. In the meantime, families may begin gathering evidence, and interview attorneys to decide how to proceed, and if this application is the best option for them.
Do consider that the struggle continues around the county to protect the people left without benefit from the new proposal. The multiple initiatives around the nation that include, driving licenses to undocumented people, as well as in-state tuition for students are important legislative packages that need approval now more than ever.