Obama Takes Executive Action on Immigration

Fairfax Immigration Attorneys Discuss Obama’s Executive Action

Tonight the Obama administration announced sweeping and historic changes to our nation’s immigration system.

In a speech from the White House, President Obama expressed his frustration with a broken immigration system and Congress’s refusal to fix it. He said our laws rip apart families, force some of our brightest students to leave the country and keep hard workers living in the shadows.

A year and a half ago, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The House of Representatives never voted on that bill, so it never became law. The President said he was taking several steps on his own to correct problems that Congress had been unable to fix.

First, the government will deploy additional law enforcement resources at the border to stop illegal border crossers and return them. Second, highly skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs will have more options to stay in the country. Third, the government will defer deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants.

Deferring deportations was the most controversial part of the president’s announcement and attracted the most attention. Deferring deportation means that someone is allowed to stay and work in the country temporarily. Deferring deportation does not guarantee the right to stay forever and does not put someone on the path to citizenship. Deportation will be deferred for people who have been in the US for five years, have children who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents, pass a criminal background check, pay taxes, and register.

President Obama anticipated questions about his authority to take executive action, without any change in the law by Congress. He said every single president for the past 50 years has made similar changes to the immigration system. But executive action is no substitute for comprehensive immigration reform by Congress. Every change announced by President Obama can be reversed by the next president. The steps announced tonight should be viewed as temporary measures rather than any sort of lasting solution.

Websites of the Department of Homeland Security announced additional measures. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will be expanded. The provisional unlawful presence waiver program will be expanded. Deportation priorities will change to focus on national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and recent border crossers. The Secure Communities program, which screens jail inmates for immigration violations, will be replaced with a program that incorporates the new deportation priorities. Talented entrepreneurs will be considered for parole into the country.

With this one announcement, the lives of millions of noncitizens have been suddenly transformed.

To read the President’s speech, see https://time.com/3598756/obama-immigration-action/. For more specific information on the changes, visit the websites of the Department of Homeland Security at http://www.dhs.gov/immigration-action, http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction, and http://www.ice.gov/immigrationaction.

Murray Osorio PLLC are Fairfax Immigration Attorneys dedicated to their clients and to their clients’ families. If you have an immigration matter, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible. An experienced Fairfax Immigration Lawyer could make all the difference- call us at (800) 929-7142, or fill out our contact form.

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