News & Press: HBA-DC Announcements

Obama Administration Takes Executive Action to Improve Immigration System

Tuesday, December 2, 2014  

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of executive actions to crack down on unauthorized immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.  The executive actions are summarized as follows: 

Strengthened border security - DHS will implement a Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Strategy to employ DHS assets in a strategic and coordinated way to interdict individuals seeking to illegally across land, sea, and air. 

Revised removal priorities - DHS will implement a new department-wide enforcement and removal policy that places top priority on national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border.  Those who entered illegally prior to January 1, 2014, who never disobeyed a prior order of removal, and were never convicted of a serious offense, will not be priorities for removal.

Secure Communities to be Replaced with New Priority Enforcement Program - DHS will end the Secure Communities program, andreplace it with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) that will reflect DHS’s new top enforcement priorities. The program will continue to rely on fingerprint-based biometric data submitted during bookings by state and local law enforcement agencies. 

Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program - DHS will expand eligibility for DACA to encompass a broader class of children.  DACA eligibility will be expanded to cover all undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, and not just those born after June 15, 1981.  The relief (including work authorization) will now last for three years rather than two.

Deferred Action to Extend to Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents - DHS will extend eligibility for deferred actionto individuals who (i) are not removal priorities under the new policy, (ii) have been in this country continuously since January 1, 2010 and were in the country on November 20, 2014 and on the date they apply, (iii) have children who on the date of this announcement are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and were born on or before November 20, 2014, and (iv) present no other factors that would make a grant of deferred action inappropriate.  

Expanded Provisional Waivers to Spouses and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents - The provisional waiver program DHS announced in January 2013 for undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens will be expanded to include the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents, as well as the adult children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.  

Revised Parole Rules - DHS will begin rulemaking to identify the conditions under which talented entrepreneurs should be paroled into the United States, on the ground that their entry (and investment funding) would yield a significant public economic benefit.  

Support High-skilled Business and Workers - DHS will take a number of administrative actions to better enable U.S. businesses to hire and retain highly skilled foreign-born workers and strengthen and expand opportunities for students to gain on-the-job training


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