Last night, the President finally announced his administration’s eagerly anticipated and hoped for plans to extend deportation relief to a greater segment of the undocumented foreign national population. President Obama has intimated that he will be hosting additional press conferences about his executive order in the coming days and weeks, but his revelations from last night have provided critical insight into who may now also qualify for deportation relief. Read on and contact our office to learn about the new immigration possibilities that may be available to you and your family!
**Please note that the following new deportation relief and related initiatives have not yet been implemented by the government and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not yet accepting applications for relief under these new initiatives. Continue to check back with our office to see when applications can start to be filed.
Expansion of the DACA Program
Two years ago, the President implemented his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative that temporarily suspends deportation proceedings and provides work authorization to undocumented foreign nationals who were brought to this country before the age of 16 and who were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 (applicants must meet other requirements to qualify).
The President announced yesterday that he would be expanding DACA eligibility so that a greater portion of the undocumented population may qualify for its protections. To do so, the President plans to remove the upper age limit on DACA applicants – meaning that, as long as you came to the U.S. before the age of 16, you may be able to apply for DACA relief even if you are currently over the age of 31.
Creation of Deferred Action for Parental Accountability Program
The President also plans to create a new deferred action program, called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which will allow the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to also benefit from deportation suspension and apply for work authorization as long as they have been in the U.S. since January 1, 2010, and can pass security and criminal background checks.
Expanding Deportation Waivers
In certain circumstances, a foreign national who is in deportation proceedings (or who is eligible for deportation proceedings but has not yet been brought into immigration court) can apply for a waiver of the proceedings in order to remain in the country. There are several different types of waivers and each waiver has its own requirements. One waiver, called the provisional waiver, requires the foreign national who is in deportation proceedings to have a U.S. citizen spouse or U.S. citizen parent in order to qualify for the waiver.
The President plans to extend waiver eligibility to those foreign nationals who are facing deportation, but who have lawful permanent resident spouses or adult children, as well as to those foreign nationals who have adult children who are U.S. citizens.
The President also stated that he plans to implement changes to improve and streamline the visa processing for skilled workers. According to his speech last night, he will detail these steps in his subsequent speech to the nation which is scheduled for Friday, November 21, 2014.
Continue to check back with our blog to see the latest news on this critically important immigration issues!