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Immigration Law Blog

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Executive Action: Undocumented Immigrants & Deferred Action

There are approximately 11 million immigrants in the U.S. who have either entered the US without advance permission or entered with permission and overstayed their visas, and are therefore “unlawfully” in the U.S. These people are referred to by the immigrant advocacy community as “Undocumented Immigrants.” They are also referred to “Illegal Aliens.”

President Obama's Executive Action would address this population by reordering the enforcement priorities away from families and children and toward: criminals, gang members, recent immigrants, and multiple visa violators.

He announced two specific plans:

  1. Expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) 

President Obama has directed the Department of Homeland Security to exercise prosecutorial discretion for young people brought to the US as children, often called "DREAMers." This does not provide them with "immigration status" or a path toward citizenship, as argued by critics, but instead provides for Deferred Action from Deportation and provides Employment Authorization. President Obama first extended such relief in 2012. His  new plan would modify this plan by:

  • Eliminating the age ceiling, by allowing individuals born prior to June 15, 1981, to apply for DACA (removing the upper age restriction) provided they meet all other guidelines.
  • Requiring continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010, rather than the prior requirement of June 15, 2007.
  • Extending the deferred action period and employment authorization to three years from the current two years.

Previously, applicants needed to be under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, and have resided here continuously since June 15, 2007.

      2.  Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA);

This program does not provide immigration status, a Green Card, or a path toward Citizenship. Instead, it provides “Deferred Action” and Employment Authorization if certain criteria is met.

Deferred Action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

People who would qualify: 

  • Have had continuous residence 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. The enforcement priority are:
  • Priority 1 (threats to national security, border security, and public safety)
  • Priority 2 (misdemeanants and new immigration violators)
  • Priority 3 aliens are those who have been issued a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014.

Resources:

USCIS Summary for DACA 

USCIS Summary for DAPA 

American Immigration Council Executive Action Resource Page





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