Immigration in 2016

2015 started with high hopes that changes were coming to our immigration laws.  Specifically, many of us in the immigration industry were excited and anxious to find out how President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration was going to be implemented.  Just before the new actions were to begin, an injunction was filed and approved in a Federal Court in Texas.  This case is now being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  2015 now ends with the hope that 2016 may bring the same changes we hoped for this year.

Although the president’s executive actions did not get implemented, you may still qualify to obtain lawful status in the U.S.  There are many different avenues to obtain lawful status in the U.S. and the Obama Administration has initiated some policy changes over the years that still positively affect many people who want to immigrate to the U.S.  For example, the provisional waiver and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) still exist.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allow individuals to obtain temporary work permits to remain in the U.S.  To be eligible for DACA, an individual must have: 1) been under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012; arrived in the U.S. before turning 16 years old; 2) continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007; 3) been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012; 4) entered the U.S. without inspection or was out of status on or before June 15, 2012; 5) as of the date of the DACA application, is in school, graduated or obtained a GED, or been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces; and 6) not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors.

The provisional waiver allows immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to apply for the unlawful presence waiver in the U.S. prior to leaving the U.S. to obtain their immigrant visas.  The applicant must not be inadmissible for any other reason, such as for misrepresentation or criminal grounds.  The result is that the applicant can stay in the U.S. until they obtain approval from the U.S. Consulate in their native country.  Then the applicant need only travel to obtain their visa and return in a very short amount of time.

Many options still exist for those who want to immigrate to the U.S.  Commit in 2016 to finding the right help for you and your family.  Happy Holidays!