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Immigration Executive Action: What Families Need To Know Now

12/2/2014
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Visa Waiver Changes

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his executive actions for improving the U.S. immigration system. The President’s initiatives focus centrally around two main points: accountability for undocumented immigrants and options to streamline certain immigration programs and benefits.

Working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the President has identified ten major areas for executive action. These areas include:

  • Expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program;
  • Extending the Deferred Action Program to parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (i.e. green card holders);
  • Amending the Provisional Waiver Program to include spouses and children of green card holders;
  • Revising parole rules to expand travel opportunities and clarify existing regulations; and
  • Improving the citizenship process.

Each of the areas encompasses certain initiatives set to take place in the coming months. We have highlighted some of these initiatives below.

1. Initiatives for Undocumented Immigrants

  • DACA Expansion: The DACA Program will be expanded to remove the upper age restriction and permit initial employment authorization for three years instead of two.
  • Deferred Action for Parents: Deferred Action will be permitted for parents of U.S. Citizens and green card holders (born on or before November 20, 2014), who have continuously resided in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 and are not a threat to public safety. This Program will also allow requests for employment authorization.
  • Provisional Waiver Program Amendment: The current Provisional Waiver Program (i.e. program allowing for individuals to apply for a waiver of unlawful presence in the U.S. before departing for a visa interview) will be amended to include adult children of U.S. Citizens and spouses and children of green card holders.
  • Revisions to Parole Rules: The current parole rules (i.e. rules governing temporary authorization to enter the U.S.) will be revised to address the availability of parole to spouses, parents, and children of U.S. Citizens and green card holders seeking to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. The revisions will also clarify that using advance parole (i.e. travel authorization obtained in advance) to leave the U.S. is not considered a departure, even for deferred action individuals. This will result in undocumented individuals being able to leave the U.S. under advance parole without triggering the 3- or 10-year bar.

2. Initiatives for U.S. Citizenship 

  • Improvements to Citizenship Application Process: The application process for U.S. Citizenship will be improved to allow for fee payments by credit card. The possibility of partial fee waivers will also be assessed.

Each of the initiatives will be implemented in the coming months. The DACA expansion is set to occur in the next three months, while Deferred Action for Parents will be implemented in six months. DHS is working to integrate the changes into current policy.

What do the President’s initiatives mean for you? GoffWilson can help determine your answer. Please contact our office today for more information.

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