Last week President Obama made the announcement that he was taking executive action on immigration reform. Many people remain confused as to exactly what will happen as a result of his actions and there are some things that affected immigrants in particular need to know.
There are three primary groups that will benefit from the president’s actions – undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States when they were under 16 years of age, the children and spouses of legal permanent residents, and the parents of legal permanent residents or US citizens.
Those immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors may be eligible under the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), as Obama is removing the previous age cap. Immigrants need to have been in the US since before 2010 and the expansion is expected to have taken place by the end of January. The president’s new program will enable the children and spouses of legal permanent residents to put in an application for a waiver to get a green card more quickly. Current law forces applicants to leave the country before applying and they may be barred from re-entry for up to ten years; the new system allows applications to be filed from within the United States.
Parents who have resided in the country since before 2010 and are able to pass a background check will be able to put in Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and work permits applications. This program is expected to be in operation by May next year.