President Obama Announces Executive Action on Immigration

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced that he would use his Executive Powers to pass a package of immigration reforms that could potentially help approximately 4 million people.  Among the reforms he would take would be to increase border security, implement a deferred action program for certain individuals, and make improvements to the adjudication of business and family-based applications including expanding the reach of the provisional waiver, improving the visa application process, and promoting citizenship.

It has been almost two decades since the last major immigration reform, and so this announcement was much welcomed.  However, that is not to say that this announcement was not met with much criticism and skepticism.  Proponents say that this reform will boost the American economy, strengthen the security of our nation, and help keep families alive.  Opponents say that the reform can be unfair to those that have been “waiting in line” and that those affected will be taking jobs away from Americans.  Whatever the case, the fact is that change has arrived, and now the question is, where do we go from here?

The government has not released any specifics about this package of reforms that President Obama has proposed, but will most likely do so in the coming months. It is most important to note that there have been no established guidelines for the proposed reforms because of the possibility of immigration scams.  Any guarantee or promise by any immigration practitioner under this new reform should be treated with some level of skepticism.  Attorneys and non-attorneys alike that promise eligibility under this new law are most likely not telling the truth.  Beware of such promises as you may become a victim of fraud!  If you want the most recent updates on this new Executive Action, visit www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction, or speak to a knowledgeable immigration attorney that can keep you abreast of any new information.

In the meantime however, USCIS recommends that if you believe you qualify for any of the actions, that you start collecting any identity documents such as a birth certificate, proof of relationship with any U.S. citizen or residents, and proof of continuous residence in the U.S. for the past five years.  These are exciting times – but be patient for more certain procedures before moving forward with a knowledgeable professional.