Highlights of President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration
President Obama announced yesterday, on November 20, 2014, a series of executive actions focusing on enforcement priorities and providing deferred action to ensure family unification. Generally, the actions include:
- Expand the population of those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The current age cap is removed and applicants must demonstrate continuous presence in the U.S. since January 1, 2010. DACA approval will be valid for 3 years.
- Establish the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program which allows deferred action for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010.
- Expand the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
- Determine enforcement priorities to include (1) suspected terrorists, convicted felons (including aggravated felonies), convicted gang members, and persons apprehended on the border; (2) persons convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors and very recent border crossers (those who entered after January 1, 2014); and (3) those who, after January 1, 2014, failed to leave under a removal order or returned after removal.
- Allow individuals with an approved employment-based immigrant petition subject to the quota backlog to obtain the benefits of a pending adjustment of status application.
- Expand parole-in-place to include certain investors and families of individuals trying to enlist in the armed forces, as some branches of the military ban applicants who have undocumented family members.
- Replace Secure Communities with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) which allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement to seek notification and transfer of those convicted of certain offenses or who pose a danger to national security.
More information will be provided in the coming months as the programs are implemented. For questions, contact Laura Jurcevich, immigration attorney at Perez & Morris.