Immigrants Prepare for New and Expanded Deferred Action

Immigration ReformWhen President Obama announced a series of executive actions around immigration and border policies on November 20 last year, leadership at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) was tasked with the development of the rules that would walk the line between a crackdown on illegal immigration measured against compassion and support for families with often mixed documentation.

Overall purpose of executive action:

  • Crack down on illegal immigration at the border
  • Prioritize deportation of felons not families
  • Require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a background check to stay in the United Staes
  • Require undocumented immigrants to pay taxes to stay in the United States

Executive action on DACA:

  • Expands the eligible population for the DACA program to anyone who entered the United States before the age of 16 and lived in the United States since January 1, 2010
  • Applies to undocumented immigrants of any age
  • Extends DACA work authorization from two years to three years

Executive action on DAPA:

  • The allowance to request deferred action and three-year employment authorization has been extended to the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residrents
  • DAPA eligibility requires continuous U.S. residency since Jan. 1, 2010 and pass of a required background check

Other goals of executive action:

  • Expands provisional waiver of unlawful presence to include spouses and children of lawful permanent residents and the of U.S. citizens
  • Modernize, improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs for economic and job growth
  • Promote citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and giving a credit card payment option for naturalization applicants’ fees

USCIS hasn’t yet announced specifics around implementation of the president’s directives, though common expectation is to see concrete guidelines after a 90-day window from the initial announcement. And while the USCIS isn’t yet accepting applications for the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program or the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the agency lays out some basic information about whom the new rules are intended to reach the goals the new rules are intended to achieve.