The President spoke to the nation tonight to reveal his long-awaited plan to reform immigration laws to the extent that his authority allows him. Those who have watched and waited had a number of questions answered even before the President took the lectern. The biggest announcement is that the President will extend deferred action eligibility to the parents of United States citizens or permanent residents who have been in the US. since January 1, 2010. The biggest disappointment is that the President took no action to protect the parents of young people granted DACA. Applications for any benefit are not to be accepted until “early 2015.”
- Deferred Action for Parents of Citizens and Residents who have been in U.S. since January 2010. Applicants will have to demonstrate that they have been here since that date, that they have paid taxes, that they pass criminal and national security checks. They must show that they are not an enforcement priority, which has been newly defined in this action.
- Expanded DACA eligibility. Individuals who arrived in the U.S. prior to the age of 16 and prior to January 1, 2010, regardless of their current age, can seek DACA if they meet the educational and discretionary criteria.
- Enforcement Priorities. The Morton Memo on enforcement priorities is being rescinded and a new comprehensive inter-agency memo will identify enforcement priroties whose removal will be sought and expedited. The groups prioritized are as follows: (1) serious threats- suspected terrorists, those convicted of felonies, gang members, and recent entrants (after 1/1/14); (2) individuals convicted of significant or multiple misdemeanors (similar to the current DACA standards); (3) individuals who have ignored removal orders and re-entered the country after 1/1/14.
- Departure under advance parole will not generate unlawful presence inadmissibility.
- The I-601A Provisional Waiver will be extended to the spouses of permanent residents.
- The Extreme Hardship Standard will also be modified.
- Pre-registration for those with approved but not current immigrant petitions to give those waiting for priority dates access to work permits and advance parole as if they had already applied for adjustment of status.
- Guidance to the Citizenship and Immigration Service on L-1B Specialized Knowledge Professionals and National Interest Waivers for Entrepreneurs.
- Increased periods of work authorization through optional practical training.
Unfortunately, the President has not gone so far as to provide for deferred action for the parents of those granted DACA. In addition, the President has shown no sign of letting up on his persecution of women and children arriving at our Southern border.
More details and analysis to come.