HOW WILL PRESIDENT OBAMA'S EXECUTIVE ACTIONS AFFECT YOU?
President Obama has just announced his planned executive actions to help certain undocumented immigrants. His plans were underwhelming at best, giving Deferred Action to parents of US Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents and expanding the original DACA program to include persons over age 30. The vast majority of undocumented persons are still left without any form of relief, and activists will be forced to increase pressure on Congresss to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Below is a summary of qualifications for President Obama's new executive actions:
1. EXPANSION OF DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA)
President Obama's first DACA rollout only applied to individuals aged 15-30 as of June 15, 2012. This program will now be expanded to include persons of any age, so long as the person entered the US before turning 16, has lived in the US for at least five years, and meets all other DACA requirements.
2. DEFERRED ACTION FOR PARENTS OF CITIZENS AND GREEN CARD HOLDERS
If you are the mother or father of a US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, you may now be eligible for Deferred Action. However, there are some difficult requirements to meet, such as paying back taxes, and the President did not clearly line out what evidence applicants must show to be approved. Based on the Presiden't speech, we know that each applicant must:
1. Be the parent of a United States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident
2. Have lived in the US for the last five years
3. Have not committed any crimes (the President did not elaborate on what will constitue a "crime" for this program)
4. Have paid a "fair share" of taxes (the President did not define "fair share" of taxes. He also did not elaborate on how a person can prove they paid a "fair share" of taxes. This will be clarified later on)
As with all USCIS benefits, every applicant will need to submit evidence of meeting each criteria. However, it is still unknown what kinds of evidence will be considered. USCIS plans to provide more guidance in the spring of 2015, and potential applicants should be able to begin applying for benefits at that time.
WHO IS NOT INCLUDED?
President Obama chose not to grant Deferred Action to parents of DACA card holders. Also, persons who have been living here for the last five years but who entered after turning 16 and have no US Citizen or LPR child do not qualify for Deferred Action.
WHAT IS DEFERRED ACTION, ANYWAY?
"Deferred Action" means that the federal government will delay any action on your immigration case. In short, it means that for now, the government will not begin deportation proceedings against you. You must apply for Deferred Action to stop the government from deporting you. Some people who are in the middle of deportation proceedings may be able to take advantage of this program to avoid being deported.
WHY SHOULD I APPLY FOR DEFERRED ACTION?
Aside from the benefit of not being deported, you can also get a temporary work permit, which will allow you to live and work legally in the US for 2-3 years, depending on which program you qualify for. Once you have a work permit, you can apply for a Social Security number, and with both of these documents, you can usually get an Oregon Driver's license.
IS DEFERRED ACTION PERMANENT?
No. President Obama created these Deferred Action Programs, but the next elected president could take them away. President Obama could also choose to discontinue the program at any time.
HOW MUCH WILL DEFERRED ACTION COST?
We anticipate that the government filing fees will be $465. More information will be available in the spring. It is too early to give an accurate quote of attorney fees.