Finally, President Obama’s long-awaited executive action on immigration was announced on November 20, 2014.
Among others, these executive actions expand the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years. Previously, only those who entered the country before June 15, 2007 were eligible to apply. This move expects to benefit approximately 270,000 individuals in the country.
But the more far-reaching impact of the executive action pertain to the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program. They will benefit parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been present in the country since January 1, 2010. Based on estimates, this could directly affect 5 million illegal immigrants in the country. They can request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, provided they pass required background checks
It is important to point out that these initiatives have not yet been implemented, and USCIS is not accepting any requests or applications at this time. Let us be careful of unauthorized persons who claim that they can now file for you or your family members for a fee.
There are, however, some things that you can already do from your end, including gathering documents that establish your identity, your relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, and your continuous residence in the United States over the last 5 years or more. If you have a criminal history, you should start gathering police reports and court records to make sure the criminal history is not a hindrance to the deferred action.
For more information, go to www.vcalderonlaw.com.
Source: USCIS website; www.immigration.policy.org, “A Guide to the Immigration Accountability Executive Action”