Memo on Immigration Accountability Executive Actions

On November 20, 2014, the Obama Administration, through the President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions, will help secure our borders and assist close to 5 million undocumented immigrants while concurrently holding them accountable.

This article memorializes the germane elements of the President’s actions:


Certain undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five (5) years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents will be allowed to remain in the United States. In essence, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (“LPRs”) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass criminal and national security background check and pay taxes.

The above actions can be broken down into the following two categories:

  • Deferred Action for Parents (DAP). Parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present since January 1, 2010, and who pass background checks and pay taxes, will be eligible to apply for deferred action, which will be granted for a 3-year period.
  • Expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA will be revised to delete the age requirement, and to change the date that continuous presence must have started to 1/1/10. It also will be granted for 3 years (including those with pending renewal applications).

Reducing the Backlog in Immigration Court

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is scheduled to announce immigration court reforms that will address the backlog of pending cases by working with DHS to quickly resolve cases of individuals who meet new DHS-wide enforcement priorities and close cases of individuals who are low priorities. DOJ will also pursue regulations that adopt best practices for court systems to use limited court hearing time as efficiently as possible.

Illegal Immigration

There will also be an increased effort to stop illegal immigration into the United States. Specifically, anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and returned to their home country. As recently evidenced by the resources used to stop the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border, the President’s actions will also centralize border security control.

Focus on Felons and not Families or Low Priority Individuals

The President’s actions also focus on the deportation of individuals who are a threat to our national security or public safety. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), by and through the President’s directives, will place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.

Enforcement Priorities will fall into the following three (3) categories:

  1. Suspected terrorists, convicted felons (including aggravated felonies), convicted gang members, and people apprehended at or on the border;
  2. People convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors, and very recent entrants (i.e., those who entered after 1/1/14); and
  3. Individuals, who after 1/1/14, failed to leave under a removal order or returned after removal.

I-601A Waivers

The provisional waiver will be expanded to include spouses and children of Legal Permanent Residents. Also, the definition of extreme hardship will be expanded and hopefully the burden of proof will be reduced.

Please note that there are other provisions of the President’s Actions not discussed here but please contact Jadoo & Zalenski, LLC to discuss the options available to you resulting from the recent Executive Actions. The ability to apply for any of the proposed petitions will not occur for 60-90 days, however, we will be able to assist you with preparing to apply so your applications will not be delayed.

For more information, please check our website or click here.

This article is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney or accredited representative before taking any action that may affect your legal status.

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