Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. And while the program has positively transformed the lives of many, there is still so much left unaccomplished in those four years. The DREAM has yet to be fully realized.
The DACA program, announced by President Obama on June 15, 2012, provides benefits to young immigrants living in the United States who came to the U.S. at an early age as undocumented immigrants with their parents. Each renewable two-year grant of DACA provides:
- Deferred action — Protection from deportation
- Employment authorization – a work permit that allows the individual to work within the United States
Although President Obama’s executive actions that created DAPA and expanded DACA remain stalled, his updated enforcement policy means that up to 87 percent of undocumented immigrants in the United States likely will not be the target of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) according to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
The centerpiece of Obama’s November 24, 2014, executive actions on immigration was the announcement of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). When combined, these two programs were expected to positively affect up to 5 million people with protection from deportation and employment authorization for a renewable 3-year period. But both of these programs are blocked by court orders. Continue reading
Certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders may now apply for an Employment Authorization Document. The final rule giving H-4 employment authorization was part of the executive actions on immigration that President Obama announced in November 2014. It became effective on May 26, 2015. The new rule ends years of waiting by thousands of H-4 visa holders that have been unable to work in the United States.
An H-4 visa is issued to the immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of H visa holders (H-1A, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3), so that they can legally stay in the U.S. However these dependent spouses have not had the privilege of H-4 employment authorization in the United States. Continue reading
We previously published a basic guide on Preparing for DAPA and developed a DAPA Eligibility Quiz that helps potential applicants determine their eligibility. But gathering the documents necessary to apply for DAPA takes real work. It is tedious and detail oriented.
Just ask DACA applicants who applied within the last couple of years. It has been worth the effort. Eduardo Ramirez-Farias, who recently renewed his DACA status, says “My experience with DACA is a positive one. It changed my life in many ways, such as financially and educationally. Most importantly, I am able to live my life without fear and enjoy the great things in life. This program gave me, as well as others, the opportunity to achieve and succeed the American Dream.” Continue reading
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced last week that they would begin accepting applications for employment authorization from certain H-4 visa holders on May 26, 2015.
The decision comes after three years of agency consideration and vetting, but the announcement ends many more years of waiting by thousands of H-4 visa holders that have been unable to work in the United States.
The rule change is good news for many families, but it is particularly beneficial to many Indian and Chinese professions. Most H-1B visas are held by nationals from the two countries, and most will have to renew their H-1B status for 10-20 years before an immigrant visa (green card) becomes available. Continue reading
The President’s Immigration Action will expand deferred action to include approximately 5 million additional immigrants.
President Obama addressed the nation last night and announced major executive action on immigration. The immigration action had several components which include border enforcement, adjustment of removal priorities, improvement in ICE officer compensation, expansion of provisional waivers, expansion of parole-in-place, promotion of high-skilled labor, promotion of naturalization, and expansion of the deferred action program to millions more. CitizenPath explains who gets covered by the expanded deferred action and how to prepare for it. Continue reading
Many critics have questioned the president’s authority to use executive action to provide immigration relief for millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. Last month hundreds of law professors and scholars signed a letter that stated their belief that executive action would be within the legal authority of a U.S. president. Now a recently released report from the American Immigration Council outlines the long history of executive grants of temporary immigration relief from 1956 to the present.
The report demonstrates that every U.S. president since at least 1956 has granted temporary immigration relief of some form. Continue reading