Here is Mooers Immigration’s initial synopsis of the 4 (four) major immigration programs announced by President Obama on Thursday, November 20. Additional details about each of these programs are expected in the coming days.
I discussed all of this live on Channel 9 earlier today. A number of firms and organizations have contacted my office to schedule meetings with their members or employees – please contact me if you would like me to speak to your organization.
[NOTE: In addition to the list below, there will be additional employment-related items that will be announced shortly related to L-1B visas; definition of "same or similar" for pending immigrants changing employers; new PERM regulations related to recruiting US workers; a new type of “visa” for foreign entrepreneurs; and opportunities for entrepreneurs to obtain Green Cards under the “National Interest Waiver” program.]
1. DAP: Deferred Action for Parents
- Arrived PRIOR TO January 1, 2010 (at least five years ago)
- Parent of US Citizen or Legal Resident (born before November 21, 2014)
- No serious criminal record
- Willing to pay taxes
- These parents will be protected from deportation and eligible to work for initial period of 3 years
- Think of this as “protective bubble”
- This is NOT a path to Citizenship
- This is simply the President stating that we should leave these people alone while ICE goes after bad people.
- This also reflects the fact that US Citizens can sponsor their parents once they turn 21 years of age.
- Obama: Why destroy families through deportation when the parents will be legalized eventually anyway under current laws?
TIMING: File applications starting in May/June 2015
2. Expansion of DACA (DREAM Act) for “childhood arrivals”
- Arrived in US no later than January 1, 2010
- Under 16 when arrived
- No upper age limit (was 31)
TIMING: File applications starting in February/March 2015
3. Relief for Legal Applicants currently in Long Lines for Green Cards and Work Visas
- Family members of foreign scientists, teachers, engineers, etc. in long lines (up to 10 years) for Green Cards will be able to work for the first time. Children will be able to remain with families.
- Spouses of foreign scientists, teachers, engineers, etc. in H-1B status will be eligible to work.
- STEM graduates from US universities will be eligible to stay in the US for longer periods of time.
TIMING: Once Regulations and Guidance have been issued [TBD]
4. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia
- Citizens of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Guinea will be able to apply for initial 18-month TPS.
- Will be protected from deportation during this period.
- Will be eligible to work.
TIMING: File applications starting in June 2015
INDIVIDUALS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRESIDENT’S ACTION
- Individuals who entered the US after 5 year cut-off period
- Individuals without children born in the US
- Individuals with criminal records
- Individuals not willing to pay US taxes
Unless they had a US Citizen child after arriving in the US, parents of children in the DACA program ARE NOT eligible for help under the Obama program.
Bottom Line: This is a highly-targeted plan that will help many individuals.
Let us know if you want to discuss in greater detail the impact that the Obama program will have on your clients, company or organization. I have a cadre of native Spanish speakers on my staff who are available to answer questions as well.
Please let us know when we can be of assistance.
Founder, Mooers Immigration
Adjunct Professor of Immigration Law, Catholic University