Executive Actions on Immigration… Now, what?

Maria del Carmen Ramos
Maria del Carmen Ramos

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)  is not currently accepting applications under President Obama’s Executive Actions.  This notwisthanding, if you believe you will be eligible to apply for a benefit, you can begin collecting documentation to show your identity, your relationship to a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident, and continuous residence in the U.S. for the past five years.

When can you expect to begin making your application?

The expanded deferred action program (DACA) will likely be implemented by USCIS within approximately 90 days of the President’s announcement on November 20, 2014. Applications for Deferred Action for Parents (DAP) of U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents will probably be accepted by USCIS in approximately 180 days from the announcement by the President.

Do you have an application pending under the current DACA guidelines?

If so, you may receive a three year work authorization card, instead of a two year card. USCIS is exploring the possibility of extending two year work authorization cards to three years for those who have already received their renewals.

Are you eligible for a provisional waiver under the Executive Actions?

If you have resided unlawfully in the U.S. for at least 180 days and are the spouse, son or daughter of lawful permanent residents, or the son or daughter of U.S. Citizens, you may be eligible. You must be able to demonstrate extreme hardship to the U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident if you were to be returned to your home country. Extreme hardship will be clarified when the new guidelines and regulations are issued.

Should you go ahead and file for deferred action under the new guidelines?

You will have to wait until USCIS announces that the new program has been implemented, but if you meet the new guidelines, you should apply. The preliminary estimates are that approximately 4.9 million people could be eligible for the new initiatives, though it is unknown how many people will actually apply. The timeframe for processing is difficult to predict and USCIS will do its best to allocate resources so that processing will be completed in a reasonable period of time, and for all applications received by the end of next year, completion by the end of 2016. USCIS will provide a receipt notice within 60 days of filing. At present, there is no cut-off date for filing.

Will you get deported if you apply under the new guidelines?

That depends on your background. Information in your request is not shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), however, should you meet the criteria for a Notice to Appear (NTA) (See NTA Guidelines at www.uscis.gov/NTA ), your case might be referred to ICE. If you are granted deferred action, you will not be referred to ICE; however, your information may be shared with national security and law enforcement agencies, including ICE and CBP for purposes other than removal.

You should consult with an attorney to assess your exposure should you decide to apply for benefits under these guidelines.  For more information, please contact Maria del Carmen Ramos at 813.227.2252 or mramos@slk-law.com.

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