On November 20th, President Obama announced new executive actions on immigration. For those of you who are familiar with the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), these new actions are basically an expansion of that program. It is important to understand exactly what these new changes will do because millions of immigrants are now eligible for work permits and temporary relief from deportation.
What is DACA?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program began in June 2012. Undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before they turned 16 years of age and before June 2007 are eligible to apply for a work permit and temporary relief from deportation, both of which last for two years. DACA only provides temporary documentation, and the individual will not receive permanent legal status or a path to citizenship. Individuals applying for Deferred Action/Obama Work Visas must prove that they:
- Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012
- Came to the United States before they turned 16 years old
- Have lived in the United States from June 15, 2007 through now
- Are currently in school, have graduated high school, have a GED certificate, or are a Coast Guard or Armed Forces veteran who was honorably discharged
- Have no felony convictions or convictions for significant misdemeanors
What Do the New Executive Actions Do?
The President’s new executive actions will expand the amount of people who can apply for the two-year work permits and temporary relief from deportation. In addition to those who were eligible under DACA before the changes, there are two new groups of immigrants who may now apply:
- Parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who have been here continuously for at least five years starting on January 1, 2010
- Individuals who arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16 and have been continuously present for at least five years starting on January 1, 2010
Like the individuals who are eligible under DACA, these new groups will have to prove they have lived in the United States from January 1, 2010 through now and have no felony convictions or convictions for significant misdemeanors.
The individuals who arrived before they turned 16 will also have to prove that they are attending school, have graduated high school, have a GED certificate, or are a Coast Guard or Armed Services veteran who was honorably discharged. It’s important to remember that, like DACA, this program will not give you permanent status or a pathway to citizenship. It will only provide temporary relief from deportation and temporary work permits.
According to WhiteHouse.gov, The U.S. government will not begin accepting applications until at least the spring or summer of 2015, but you can contact attorneys at Big Horn Law immediately to start determining if you may be eligible. If you are eligible, you can begin collecting relevant documents, so that you can apply as soon as the program begins.
The attorneys at Bighorn have years of experience providing immigration and naturalization assistance, including DACA processing. We can provide the help you need to take advantage of the new program. Contact Bighorn today.