The first details of President Obama’s planned actions on immigration relief have been released. The main announcements are as follows: 1) A new deferred action for parents (DAPA) of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children who have resided in the U.S. for at least five years and who have no serious criminal history; 2) An expansion of the existing DACA program by eliminating the 31 year age-out and moving the residence date from 6/15/2007 to 1/1/2010; and 3) A revised enforcement policy to concentrate resources on serious criminal offenders and recent entrants (and eliminating Secure Communities). Many details have yet to be decided and information will continue to be published as these details are worked out. DHS is working under a 180-day implementation deadline for DAPA, so we can expect USCIS to begin accepting applications in Spring 2015. Expanded DACA should be available in 90 days. Steps to be taking now: 1) obtaining copies of criminal records; 2) collecting evidence of physical presence for at least 5 years; 3) getting or renewing passports or other proof of ID; 4) obtaining birth certificates of U.S. or LPR children; and 5) collecting any previous immigration papers from prior applications or deportation processes.
Additional items the Obama Administration may be pursuing: expanding the 601A provisional waiver to individuals with lawful permanent resident (LPR) qualifying relatives; allowing individuals in employment quota backlogs to apply for adjustment of status prior to a current priority date in order to receive “pending adjustment” benefits while waiting for a visa; potential changes to the PERM labor certification system; and parole-in-place opportunities for family members of individuals who choose to enlist in the military. We can expect more information on all these items in the coming days and weeks, but obviously there are many new opportunities that will be opening up on many fronts.