On November 20, 2014, the President announced his Immigration Accountability Executive Actions, which should impact millions undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
The President will take these immediate actions to fix ongoing immigration issues, particularly along the Southern border, while continuing working with the Congress to pass a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform bill.
Here are the most important changes for undocumented immigrants:
1. Temporary relief to certain categories.
Eligible immigrants will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization if they come forward and pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, pay a fee, and show that they are:
- A parent of the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident on the date of the announcement, are not enforcement priorities and have been in the U.S. since January 1, 2010, or
- An individual who arrived in the U.S. before turning 16 years old and before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.
Important to note that the above-mentioned undocumented immigrants will not receive a Green Card or a U.S. citizenship; they will only receive a temporary relief from deportation, work authorization and ability to apply for some benefits.
The USCIS will begin accepting applications in early 2015.
2. Recent Border Crossers and undocumented felons will be a Priority for Deportation.
The executive actions announced by the President will not benefit immigrants who recently crossed the border, who may cross the border in the future, or who help those who cross in the future, but rather immigrants who have been living in the United States for at least 5 years.
The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally today will be caught and then sent back.
Criminals rather than hard-working parents, students, and children will be the highest priority for deportation.