The President announced several changes to the immigration policies that are currently in place.
The most significant is a new program to allow parents of US citizens or legal permanent resident children to obtain a deferred status. This means these individuals will apply for and receive a deferred action identification card, a work authorization permit and be safe from removal from the US for three years, unless they become removable in the meantime by committing a crime. Requirements currently include: that the person applying is living in the US as of November 11, 2014; that they have continuously resided in the US since January 1, 2010; that they are the parent of a US citizen or legal permanent resident child; that child was born on or before November 11, 2014. The individual must not be designated an enforcement priority removal— in other words, they cannot be considered a threat to national security, border security and public safety, and they cannot: have an aggravated felony conviction; have three or more misdemeanor offenses; have one or more significant misdemeanor convictions (domestic abuse, sexual abuse/exploitation, unlawful possess/use of firearms, drug distribution/trafficking, and drunk driving) with a sentence of 90 or more days in custody; or have a final order of removal issued after January 1, 2014. The announcement also states that immigration services will have forms and procedures in place to apply for the new deferred status in approximately 6 months. In mid-May we should be able to start actually reviewing the forms and requirements from immigration services.
The President’s announcement also noted that DACA will be expanded. This will allow children who entered the United States prior to turning 16 years old to apply for deferred status. Originally, that status was granted for two years, and the applicant had to prove that he or she had been in the United States continuously since 2007. Now, the status will be granted for three years, and the applicant will have to prove that he or she has been in the US since January 1, 2010. Originally it did not apply to anyone born before 1981; now deferred status applies to anyone who entered the United States prior to turning 16 years old. Other requirements will remain in place. These include that each applicant must prove that they either have graduated from high school or are enrolled in school and not be an enforcement prior removal. This change will take place in approximately three months when the forms and procedures already in place have been updated—approximately in mid-February. It is also possible that more people that would have qualified under the original DACA requirements will now apply as the program has a pretty decent track record now. We can say with some certainty who will actually have problems with immigration if they apply.
If you have questions about the new immigration policy and how it could affect you, contact our office today or submit an onlince case evaluation.