President’s New Deferred Action Immigration Programs

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced new immigration programs that provide for administrative relief for over 4 million undocumented individuals living and working in the United States. The new program will be implemented via the President’s signing of an Executive Order today, November 21, 2014.

The new immigration programs have not yet been implemented. The new programs include deferred action – which is protection from deportation – and work authorization for parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children.  And, a new expanded DACA program for young people who came to the U.S. before turning 16 years old.

Below is a summary of who is eligible for each of the new programs.

Deferred Action for Parents (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program):

  • Parents of U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents living in the U.S. from the date of President’s announcement (Nov. 20, 2014) are eligible for this relief if:
    • They have lived continuously in the U.S. since January 1, 2010;
    • Their U.S. Citizen child or lawful permanent resident child was born on or before Nov. 20, 2014;
  • Parents must not have been convicted of a felony, a serious misdemeanor or three or more non-serious misdemeanors and must undergo criminal and national security background checks;
  • If you meet this criteria, you are eligible for deferred action – protection from deportation and work authorization for a period of 3 years;
  • The application period is scheduled to start 180 days after the announcement (Mid-May, 2015).

Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

  • This program expands the DACA program for young people who came to the U.S. as minors;
  • Allows individuals born before June 15, 1981 to apply for DACA – it removes the age restriction in the prior DACA program;
  • To qualify you must have lived continuously in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 (as opposed to the prior requirement of June 15, 2007);
  • Individuals must meet other current DACA requirements (education or military service, background checks, etc.) and fees apply to applicants under the expanded program;
  • Extends the deferred action period and work authorization to three years (as opposed to two years);
  • Applications for Expanded DACA will be available beginning 90 days after the announcement (end of February, 2015).

There are many other provisions of the new executive action programs on immigration, such as expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include spouses and children of lawful permanent residents, and children of U.S. citizens; improving programs for nonimmigrants; and promoting citizenship education. 

 

TIPS FOR WORKERS REGARDING THE NEW IMMIGRATION ACTION:

  • The programs have not yet been implemented and you cannot file applications at this time.
  • Beware of anyone offering to help you submit an application, you could be the victim of “notario” fraud.
  • If you believe you, or someone you know, may be eligible for one of these programs, you should start gathering documents that show: identity; relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and continuous residence in the U.S. for the last 5 years or more.
  • If you are employed, do not reach out to your employer or talk to your employer about the fact that you think you may be eligible for any of the new immigration programs.  You run the risk of being terminated from your employment.

TIPS FOR UNIONS REGARDING THE NEW IMMIGRATION ACTION

  • Bargain for language or side letters that allow workers to update their employment records without risk of discipline or discharge.
  • On pending I-9 audits, bargain with the Employer over allowing impacted workers to be reinstated within one-year in order to allow workers who may qualify for the new immigration action to apply and obtain work authorization.
  • For assistance with any of these, please contact us to discuss strategies and proposals.

By Monica Guizar | November 21, 2014

Legal Developments