President Obama’s immigration reform has created more immigration options for millions of undocumented individuals in the U.S. while promising to keep Americans safer.
- Parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present since 1/1/10, 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.
- Parents of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are not eligible for the above relief, however the DACA program itself will be expanded. The program guidelines will be revised to eliminate the age cap, and to change the date that continuous presence must have started to 1/1/10.
- Individuals with an approved employment-based immigrant petition who are caught in the quota backlogs to file for adjustment of status will be advanced to permit them to obtain the benefits of a pending adjustment.
- New reforms also promise to aid job-creating entrepreneurs gain access legal means to enter and operate in the U.S
- To make the best use of limited ICE resources, newly outlined enforcement priorities will focus on security measures to keep suspected terrorists, convicted felons (including aggravated felonies), convicted gang members, out of the United States. Additionally, close attention will be paid to people apprehended at the border, people convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors, and very recent entrants.
Two years ago, President Obama set forth the guiding principles that should lead immigration reform. Although the Senate passed a bipartisan bill more than 500 days ago, the country has been waiting, and waiting… and waiting… for House Republicans to vote. The time has come for the President to issue executive actions and address some of the problems plaguing the immigration system.
Tomorrow night, President Obama will present new immigration law reforms instituted by his executive actions. There are high hopes that these executive actions will finally help fix our broken immigration system.
You can watch the President live tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET at WhiteHouse.gov/Live.
It will come as a relief to many that a new Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program will be implemented in early 2015. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas has said that “The rebuilding and development of a safe and economically strong Haiti is a priority for the United States. [The] program promotes a fundamental underlying goal of our immigration system – family reunification. It also supports broader U.S. goals for Haiti’s reconstruction and development by providing the opportunity for certain eligible Haitians to safely and legally immigrate sooner to the United States.” Indeed, under this program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will offer certain eligible Haitian beneficiaries of already approved family-based immigrant visa petitions, who are currently in Haiti, an opportunity to come to the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current.
Although President Obama has yet to issue any statements or take official actions on immigration reform, it seems very likely that the government is gearing up ahead of a new immigration initiative. On October 6, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) drafted a request for bids from potential vendors for supplies “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” These vendors specifically must be capable of handling a scenario of 9 million ID cards issued in one year. The agency seeks to buy the materials need to construct both Permanent Residency Cards (PRC) aka “Green Cards,” and Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) cards, also used for the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program instituted by President Obama in 2012. The proposal request indicates that the agency will need a minimum of four million cards per year. However, a “surge” predicted in 2016 would mean the agency would need an additional five million cards – more than double the baseline annual amount for a total of 9 million.
It is rather telling that the proposal request also states that: “The guaranteed minimum for each ordering period is 4,000,000 cards. The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards.” These actions tend to indicate that immigration reform is coming, and in a substantial way! Stay tuned…
“Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience.”
–John F. Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants
The United States has historically been a melting pot of immigrants, each immigrant community bringing an additional ingredient to the rich mélange that is the U.S. population. As such, immigrants have been instrumental in helping build this country and are an intrinsic part of American history. However, Immigrant communities have been waiting for months for immigration reforms to meet the growing needs of the people. Unfortunately, Congress has been unable to agree on any actions to meet current immigration needs. Every U.S. President since 1965 has made executive decisions on immigration issues, and President Obama is no exception. The President has broad executive authority to shape the enforcement and implementation of immigration laws. The President can exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer deportations and streamline adjudications. Already, President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, has deferred deportation for young adults brought to the U.S. as children. Further reform focusing on circumventing family separation is one of the main areas expected to be addressed soon by the Obama administration.