Approximately one year ago, the Obama administration announced a broad executive action on immigration that could potentially shield almost half of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants that are now believed to be on U.S. soil from deportation. Greater still, the president is also directing the government to focus more intensely upon removing criminals rather than families, making changes to the visa system and overhauling immigration courts.
Illegal Immigrants Protected from Deportation
Under this plan, a large bulk of the estimated 5 million people who could potentially be protected from deportation would be the parents of U.S citizens or holders of green cards who have lived in the country for more than five years. Statistics indicate that as many as 3.7 million undocumented immigrants fall into this category; the goal which was originally proposed to start in the spring was to register these immigrants with government agencies to undergo a background check, begin paying taxes, and gain a protected status for up to three years.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Dream Act
Almost another 290,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children with their parents would also be protected under an expansion of President Obama’s original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama administration has issued a proposal to amend the cut off age for DACA, which in the past had been open to people under the age of 31, and is instead allowing immigrants to apply if they have lived in the U.S since 2010, not 2007 as previously stated. This change will increase the number of immigrants eligible to approximately 1.5 million. The White House has officially stated that approximately 1 million immigrants would be newly protected from deportation under other reforms in the president’s directive. But not everyone will be eligible under the Presidents new plan. Any person who has come to the U.S. illegally within the last five years is disqualified from applying as is anyone that has already been deported and will not be allowed to re-enter the country.
Undocumented Immigrants Temporarily Remain in the U.S.
Last February a federal trial judge petitioned to halt the policy changes that President Obama announced the previous fall that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to temporarily remain in the U.S. and seek employment openly. The justice department made two attempts to convince a federal appeals court to reinstate the programs but due to the appeal process, the policies have essentially remained in limbo for months. The outcome of the case could further be determined just as much by the calendar as it is by law. If the case is considered soon it is likely that the case will be heard in the present time and a decision will be handed down in June. Texas, the lead state actively challenging the new immigration policies asked that the decision be delayed by 30 days. If the court had granted this motion it is very likely that the case would not be decided upon until June of 2017, many months after President Obama leaves office. On Tuesday December 1st, 2015 the Court denied the request for a 30 day extension and instead granted an 8 day extension. The shorter delay will not change when the justices can hear the case which is still set for June.
Experienced Immigration Attorneys, Civil & Criminal Lawyers in Houston, Conroe, Galveston, Sugar Land & the Great State of Texas
While it is still unclear exactly what the future holds for the proposed changes in immigration, the Obama Administration and the immigrants who are depending on him have won a small victory that could have otherwise delayed the new policies that are set to go into effect in June by at least one more year. If you have questions about the new immigration laws and the current changes contact the experienced attorneys at Dyer & Libby Law firm, our seasoned attorneys will ensure that your case is treated fairly, and that you are awarded the legal opportunities that you are entitled to under the law. Contact us today and speak with a knowledgeable representative about immigration or any other legal concerns.