November 21st, 2014 marks a day many pro-immigration activists were hoping for, the announcement of President Barack Obama’s Immigration Action to protect almost 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation. Even though it wasn’t quite the citizenship pathway many expected, it was certainly good news for those who, in the President’s words, can now “come out of the shadows.” But who is included in this action? Can any illegal immigrant now apply for a work permit? Let’s break it down and analyze what this controversial announcement means.
Who is Eligible for the new Immigration Reform?
Parents of U.S Citizens and Green Card holders can now legally live and work in the United States without fear of deportation. However, such benefit does not apply for anyone with a criminal record, terrorist affiliation or anyone who illegally crossed the border during the last year. It does include those individuals who came to the U.S as minors and are, therefore, eligible for protected status.
Obama’s action lets eligible immigrants get a 3 year work permit, turning them into taxpayers and legal temporary residents. That said, the action is designed to protect them from immediate deportation, but they could go back to illegal status after those 3 years.
At this stage, it is very important for undocumented immigrants to consult with a licensed professional to determine their rights, as opposed to going to paralegals, notarios and other non-attorneys who may take advantage of their already delicate situation. Not every illegal immigrant is eligible for the new reform, but an experienced professional can help them identify other options more suitable to their particular case.
The announcement on USCIS’ website is very clear and warns people about any potential scams. To this date, no systems have been implemented, therefore, no application can be filed. Undocumented immigrants must wait for the authorities to issue the necessary instructions and forms to begin the process. Meanwhile, you can start gathering your information and contacting a licensed lawyer for advice.
To apply for the recently announced action, you’ll need proof of identity, direct relationship to an American citizen or green card holder, and proof that you have lived in the country for the last 5 years or more. Bear in mind that USCIS is likely to start receiving applications for the expanded DACA program 90 days after the announcement and 180 days after for resident and citizen’s parents.
Key Factors to Consider
Although detailed information will continue to surface as the proper application methods are developed, here are some things we already know:
- No deadline or cap has been announced
- 4.9 million people are likely to be eligible
- All cases will be evaluated individually
- Applicants will be subject to background checks to avoid fraud
As legal experts, we are determined to advise you to stay away from anyone who might take advantage of your situation. Immigration laws can be overwhelming, something that unscrupulous people use to deceive hopeful migrants. Before taking any further steps, contact a licensed and experienced professional. Clear every doubt, consider several scenarios and ask about your options.
At the Law offices of Alice Antonovsky, we provide confidential consultations and give personalized advice to our clients. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1.718.924.2896 or leave your comments below. We can work together to achieve your immigration goals.