Where Does Immigration Reform Stand?
Although comprehensive immigration reform is currently at a standstill, programs expanded and created through executive actions by President Obama likely will come to fruition in the coming months. Latino legislators recently encouraged immigrants who may qualify for the programs to be prepared for the new benefits.
The programs include an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and creation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, and the USCIS should start accepting applications on or about May 20, 2015. Individuals who believe they are eligible for DACA and DAPA should meet with an immigration attorney to discuss their eligibility and should start preparing to submit applications by May 20, 2015.
In 2012, the Obama administration initiated DACA, which provides a stay of removal and a two-year work permit, which may be renewed, to certain undocumented immigrants who entered the United States at an age younger than 16.
In November of 2014, President Obama announced an expansion to DACA to include any illegal immigrants who entered the country before 2010. The policy change also extended the benefit to immigrants older than 31. As of June, an estimated 581, 000 people had been granted DACA status; the expansion should extend eligibility to an additional 330,000.
DAPA, sometimes referred to as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, provides the status of “deferred action” to certain undocumented immigrant parents to children who are American citizens or who have permanent legal resident status. To qualify, immigrants must have lived in the United States since 2010. Deferred action status includes a stay of removal and a renewable work permit valid for three (3) years.
To be eligible for DAPA, individuals also must have been physically in the United States on the date of the announcement of the program or November 20, 2014. They also must be physically in the United States when they apply to the program.
Republican lawmakers have worked to derail the measures since their announcement last year. Last month, a federal district court temporarily halted progress on the measures after Texas and 16 other states sued to block DAPA and the DACA expansion. However, the injunction has no effect on the existing DACA rules implemented in 2012.
At a February press conference, a group of Latino members of Congress advised immigrants to ignore the opposition and get ready for the new policies to take effect.
The Latino lawmakers advised immigrants to prepare their documentation and learn the requirements for eligibility for the new DAPA and expanded DACA programs. The application process is open to anyone who meets the requirements, including individuals involved in removal proceedings or with current departure orders.
There is a high probability that the current federal district court injunction will not have a long-term effect on implementation of the new DACA and DAPA policies. Individuals who believe they may be eligible for the programs should consult with an immigration attorney to confirm eligibility and to begin the application process for the May start date.
Memo on Immigration Accountability Executive Actions
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New Immigration Policy For Dream Act Candidates
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Deferred Action Process for Young People (Ages 15 to 30)
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TPS FOR SOMALI NATIONALS EXTENDED BY THE DHS
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The Harlem Times attended Jadoo & Zalenski's office warming party. Click here to view photos from the event.