Millions of immigrants come to the United States every year. Most find jobs, work hard, reunite with family. Many of them have followed the proper legal channels, and others have not. The latest studies report that over 10 million illegal immigrants are living in the United States. Government officials and legal experts have long debated what path to take, but in November 2014 President Obama signed two executive orders that the White House calls Immigration Accountability Actions. These orders could impact millions of immigrants and enact significant changes to the national immigration system.
If you’d like to learn more about how these orders could affect your legal status, whether you are in the country legally or illegally, don’t hesitate to take a moment to fill out our online contact form. A member of our skilled legal team will respond promptly to answer your questions and help you learn more about the future of U.S. immigration.
Purpose of the Immigration Executive Orders
The purpose of these orders, according to the White House, is to streamline the immigration system. The three main points across both orders are:
- Strengthen border security. The orders centralize border command and direct additional resources to the border.
- Change deportation priorities. The president said the focus will be on deporting felons, not families. Officials will prioritize terrorists, violent criminals, and gang members.
- Keep skilled workers in the country to contribute legally to the economy. Skilled workers can contribute positively to the economy, especially when they do not have a fear of deportation and begin to pay taxes.
Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Order
One of the executive orders issued by President Obama is known as the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Order (DACA). Many undocumented immigrants arrived in the United States as children (under the age of 16). This order would allow those people to remain in the country for two years. The stay could be renewed. DACA would not provide legal status in the country, but it would stop any removal action against the immigrant and allow them to work. A person can file for this protection regardless of whether or not he or she is currently facing deportation or removal. To be eligible for DACA, a person must:
- Have come to the United States before the 16th birthday.
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
- Have continuously lived in the United States since initial arrival.
- Had no lawful status as of June 15, 2012.
- Are currently in school, have graduated, have obtained a GED, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces.
- Have not been convicted of a felony, three or more misdemeanors, or been deemed a threat to national security.
If you aren’t sure if you meet all the criteria or how to document it, contact the experienced legal team at Tucker, Nong & Associates. Our skilled lawyers can examine your case and help you decide how to best move forward. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form to get started today.
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans
The second executive order signed by the president is called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). One of the key priorities for the new immigration structure is to keep families together. This action would allow parents of Americans or lawful permanent residents to remain in the country and obtain work authorization for up to three years. To be eligible for DAPA, individuals must:
- Have lived in the U.S. continuously since January 1, 2010.
- Had a son or daughter who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident on November 20, 2014.
- Not be an enforcement priority for removal from the country.
Supreme Court to Rule on Executive Orders
Some states have gone to the courts to fight these executive orders. The Supreme Court has agreed to review the orders to determine their legality. Should the orders be upheld, they would affect millions of immigrants, allowing them to live and work legally in the United States without fear of deportation. Even though the status of these orders is not entirely clear, the government is still accepting applications through the original DACA program. They do require an extensive amount of paperwork and proof of age, relationships, residency, education, and more.
The legal team at Tucker, Nong & Associates is knowledgeable about these programs and is ready to help those who may qualify pursue this deferment. Call our Virginia office at (703) 763-2420 or our Maryland office at (301) 245-3929 today to get started protecting your family and obtaining lawful status in the United States.