Monday, December 8, 2014

5 Points to Consider Regarding the President's Immigration Executive Action Plan

By Carlos A. Calderin, Attorney
   Calderin & Oliva, P.A.

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions on the issue of immigration.  It is expected that once fully implemented, these measures will benefit between 4 and 5 million people who are currently living in the United States undocumented.  Today I would like to discuss five points to be taken into account with the executive action announcement.

1. REQUESTS FOR DACA AND DAPA MAY CAUSE DELAYS WITH ALL IMMIGRATION MATTERS.  Among other things, the White House announced the future creation of the "Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents ("DAPA") program and the further expansion of the current program of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA"). It is estimated that around 4 million people may benefit from the implementation of DAPA and expansion of DACA. It is not yet known how many people will apply for these programs during 2015. But USCIS warns that the processing of some applications may be delayed until the end of 2016. This can cause a slowdown in adjudication of other applications such as citizenship, DACA, hardship waivers, and family petitions. Therefore, it is recommended that interested parties make their requests (family petitions, DACA, citizenship, etc.) as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary administrative delays.

2. GET INFORMED EARLY. The expansion of DACA is expected around 90 days after November 20, 2014, and DAPA 90 days thereafter. As these dates approach, there will be a very large number of people who will seek legal advice on their particular immigration situation. It may grow increasingly difficult to obtain a qualified and competent lawyer who would be available to discuss these immigration matters. It is therefore recommended that interested parties not delay in seeking legal counsel.

3. BECOME INFORMED ON YOUR PARTICULAR CASE. There have been many rumors about DAPA/DACA and executive action. The interested individual should inform him or herself on his/her particular case to see if he/she qualifies for any of the measures announced and if it is recommended to apply in the particular case or not. It is also important to understand that the measures announced by the President are not related with paperwork for legal residence. Neither DAPA nor DACA are steps to permanent residence.

4. 2 OUT OF EVERY 3 INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE IN THE US UNDOCUMENTED ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR DAPA OR DACA.  About 8 million undocumented immigrants in the United States will not be eligible for a work permit under the measures announced by the White House on November 20. Therefore, it is essential that interested parties get informed on their particular cases before applying to ensure that they are eligible to be considered.

5. AFTER BECOMING INFORMED, PREPARE. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") will only approve persons who can verify that they qualify for DAPA or DACA. Interested parties who are well prepared will be eligible for work permits valid for three years.

The above information is provided for information purposes.  It should not be construed as legal advice or the formation of an attorney/client relationship.