Undocumented immigrants and immigration activists in the country are applauding President Obama’s immigration reform plan, a plan that has sent shockwaves across the U.S. His plan would grant a temporary relief from deportation only to a certain category of undocumented immigrants living here.
Those with criminal records and those who got into the country illegally very recently cannot apply. To apply for a three year relief from deportation under the President’s new rule, one must be an undocumented youth or an undocumented parent of a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. These applicants must not have criminal records.
Policies announced by the President will come into effect soon. Immigration laws focused on deporting those with criminal records will be implemented. Here are few things that the undocumented immigrants must be aware of.
Who will the plan benefit?
This plan is meant only for the undocumented youth and for adults whose children hold green cards or whose children were born in the U.S. Obama’s plan aims at keeping parents together with their U.S. born children and children who are living here as legal residents. Approximately, 4.1 million adults would qualify for a three year relief from deportation under the new program, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). According to USCIS, those applying for this temporary relief would be required to pay a $465 application filing fee.
Benefits for the Undocumented Youth
As the President’s order will expand the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, more undocumented youth will be protected from deportation. This program has already protected 587,000 young immigrants and the expansion of this program is expected to benefit 300,000 more youth.
Will these immigrants be allowed to gain legal status?
This relief from deportation is only temporary and it will not allow the beneficiaries to apply for legal permanent resident status or for citizenship. Immigrants receiving reprieve under the new rule will again become undocumented immigrants after the expiration of their temporary status. This rule only aims at postponing deportations of undocumented immigrants who are not criminals. These immigrants cannot apply for citizenship or legal status until a comprehensive immigration reform bill allowing them to do so is passed by the U.S. Congress.
More than 6 million undocumented immigrants do not qualify
Those who entered illegally into the country and fell out of status very recently, cannot apply for this temporary immigration status. Some immigrants are ineligible because they do not have children born here. These immigrants are still at the risk of deportation and they cannot obtain legal status until a comprehensive bill is passed by the U.S. Congress.
This new immigration rule will not provide any benefits to the parents and dependents of the current DACA recipients. Likewise, those who meet all the requirements for this temporary status but got deported will not be covered under the President’s plan. Even if they meet all the specified requirements, they cannot apply to get back to the U.S. An additional 300,000 people would become eligible for this temporary status if those deported are allowed to apply. But their cases will not be considered by immigration authorities. However, those in deportation proceedings and who have final removal orders can apply.
The Obama administration says that it will continue to deport undocumented immigrants but only those who have serious criminal records and those considered to be a threat to the country’s security. Immigration authorities will focus only on deporting gang members and those convicted of significant offenses. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorities will take actions in ten different areas under the President’s immigration reform rule. Click here for the entire list.