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On December 9, 2016, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Bridge Act which would protect 740,000 DACA recipients from deportation and allow them to continue working and studying in the United States for the next 3 years.
Like DACA, the bill does not provide a path to green cards for Dreamers. Instead, the bill would grant them “provisional protected presence” in the US. They would be allowed to remain in the US, renew their EAD work permits and, in some circumstances, qualify for Advance Parole international travel permits.
Since President-Elect Trump has vowed to repeal President Obama’s executive orders, the bill, if enacted, would protect Dreamers from deportation for another 3 years unless they commit a deportable offense.
The bill would also tighten the confidentiality provisions in the law. DACA requires applicants to reveal their addresses and other personal information. The bill would prohibit the government from using this information to try to deport DACA recipients or their parents.
Although the bill is sponsored by a bipartisan group of Democratic and Republican Senators, it is unclear whether it has enough support to pass the Republican-controlled Senate and the House of Representatives.
The introduction of the Bridge Act is expected to put pressure on President-Elect Trump to work out a solution to the immigration status of the Dreamers.
Trump has been equivocal about how he intends to treat the Dreamers.
On one hand, he has pledged to repeal DACA. However, in a recent interview with Time magazine, he stated:
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud. But that’s a very tough situation. They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his long-awaited changes to our broken immigration system. None of the changes will take place immediately, and some hoped-for changes like recapture of lost EB numbers and counting only principals toward the 140,000 EB cap were not included in the new policy.
Nevertheless, for 4-5 million persons, most of them undocumented, there is considerable good news.
1. Deferred Action Relief for Parents (DARP) - Parents of young persons granted DACA will not receive any benefits under the President's new policy. However, certain parents of US citizens and green card holders will be able to apply for relief and work cards under DARP.
The age of the child is irrelevant. Even if you are 50+ years old and your son/daughter gets a green card through his/her citizen spouse, you may be eligible for DARP. To qualify, you need to have resided in the US since January 1, 2010 and not be in lawful status on November 20, 2014. The background checks will be similar to those for DACA applicants. You can qualify even if you are under removal proceedings or are subject to a Final Order of Removal.
The work permit and biometrics fee is currently $465.
The application period will start in the Spring of 2015.
2. Expansion of the DACA Program - The 31-year-old age cap for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be removed. You must have be present in the US on January 1, 2010 (rather than on June 15, 2007) to qualify and be under the age of 16 when you entered the US. DACA work permits will now be issued for 3 years at a time instead of 2 years. You must be present in the US on November 20, 2014 and not be in lawful status.
The application period will start within 90 days of November 20, 2014.
3. Employment-Based (EB) Benefits - Most of these promised benefits are in the "Coming Attractions" category since they require regulations. We are informed that the long-awaited regulations for work permits for certain H-4 spouses will soon be finalized.
Also, that certain persons with approved EB petitions who are waiting for their priority dates to become current may eventually be permitted to "pre-register" for adjustment of status which will allow them to obtain EADs and APs, and to change jobs. Regarding OPT, the STEM category will be expanded and the length of STEM-OPT extensions will grow. Also promised are benefits for foreign-born entrepreneurs.
Again, don't look for any of these benefits in your Christmas stocking next month. Perhaps by the end of 2015.
4. Other Benefits - These include items that have been on many immigrants' wish lists for years and years:
I-601A Provisional Waivers - Will be expanded to include spouses and children of LPRs;Parole-in-Place - Will be expanded;Advance Parole - DHS will apply standards in Matter of Arrabally-Yerrabelly;Promises, Promises - DHS will clarify legal terms of art including "extreme hardship", "specialized knowledge", "same or similar" and everything from the PERM process to Immigration Court proceedings will be improved and modernized.
Have any questions about President Obama's New Immigration Policy?
Of course you do!
Please sign-up for a Free Webinar about Obama's new immigration policy in which I will participate in along with attorneys from Wolfsdorf Rosenthal on Monday, December 1st at 12:30pm, Pacific Time.
Need More Information?
We link to DHS's "Fixing Our Broken Immigration System through Executive Action".
This page links to over a dozen fun-filled pages designed which attempt to explain the changes to our immigration system being contemplated by the DHS.
Updated 11-21-2014 at 12:30 PM by CShusterman
On June 5, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the process for persons who have received work permits (EADs) under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs to renew their DACA status and work permits for another 2 years. Also, in this article, we describe the process by which persons in DACA status can obtain green cards.
Since the summer of 2012, over 560,000 persons who entered the United States as children have obtaining lawful status through the DACA program. However, later this year and next, their status is due to expire.
The DHS has unveiled the process for them to extend their DACA status and EADs in the U.S.
They must begin by completing the newly-reissued form I-821D, Consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, plus form I-765 for a new EAD (along with a filing fee for $465) as well as the I-765 worksheet. They must also submit their fingerprints and photos. The DHS will conduct a background check.
In order to maintain eligibility for DACA, an applicant must:
Not have departed the U.S. since August 15, 2012 unless they did so pursuant to a grant of “advance parole”;Not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors; andNot pose a threat to national security or public safety.
USCIS reminds applicants to submit their renewal applications at least 120 days before their current DACA application is due to expire. However, it may be prudent to do so 180 days before the expiry date.
From DACA to Green Card
Since many persons with DACA cards entered the U.S. “without inspection”, they have been told that it is impossible to become a lawful permanent residents of the U.S. because they did not enter the U.S. legally.
However, this is not necessarily true.
Persons with DACA card are eligible to apply for permission to travel outside the U.S. under the following circumstances:
If you obtain “advance parole” to travel abroad, be aware that when you return to the U.S., you last admission to the U.S. is lawful.
Therefore, should you marry your U.S. citizen fiancé, you can immediately apply for a green card. The whole procedure takes place in the U.S. and is usually completed within a matter of months.
Updated 06-05-2014 at 02:27 PM by CShusterman
On September 13, the California State Legislature passed a bill which would enable undocumented immigrants to apply for California State Driver’s Licenses. The State Senate passed the bill, AB60, by a 28-8 vote while the Assembly’s vote was 55-19. Governor Jerry Brown has indicated that he will sign the bill into law.
The driver’s licenses issued to the undocumented would allow them to drive legally, but not to apply for other benefits. There will be a notation on the license stating that the document “does not establish eligibility for employment or for public benefit”. The licenses will contain the initials “DP” (Drivers Privilege) instead of “DL” (Drivers License).
Like other applicants, the undocumented will have to pass both a written and a driving test, and comply with applicable rules issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. These drivers would then be eligible to purchase automobile insurance.
“These licenses will include a special watermark on the front and language on the back that makes it clear this license is for driving only and not identification,” said Kim Raney, who is the President of the California Police Chiefs Association. “TSA and federal officials and law enforcement will all be aware that these grant driving privileges only and aren’t confirmed identification.”
Nine other states have enacted laws allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for state driver’s licenses, six this year. Prior to 1993, a person’s immigration status was not a criterion for obtaining a California Driver’s License. Approximately 2.6 million undocumented persons reside in California.
Although some persons criticized this measure as a “quasi-amnesty”, it was strongly endorsed by the California Police Chiefs Association, the insurance industry and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. The police chiefs believe that the measure will increase traffic safety and diminish the number of hit and run accidents.
A statement issued by Governor Brown stated that “This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally…Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”
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Updated 12-02-2013 at 12:15 PM by CShusterman
I recently did some counseling at a local church to assist young people with their applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The biggest hurdle for them was not completing their applications, but providing the necessary supporting evidence to prove their residence and physical presence in the U.S. When you are undocumented, it is often difficult to provide the same types of evidence that U.S. citizens and green card holders may take for granted.
How do you prove that you were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, for 5 continuous years prior to that date, and that you have resided in the U.S. since June 5, 2007?
The USCIS advises applicants to use official records. They suggest financial records, school records, military records and employment records.
In other words, rely on your pay stubs, cancelled checks, school transcripts, rent receipts and utility bills. That's easy to do if you have legal status, a social security card and a driver's license. Not so easy if you have none of these documents.
What if you are working for cash or with a fake social security number? You can't get a state drivers license and you live with your parents.
What are you supposed to do?
I discovered that almost every young person that I interviewed at the church had a Facebook account since they do not ask you for your papers before you can join. And, of course, every time you post something on Facebook, the date of the post is recorded. Pretty cool. But since people all over the world are on Facebook, how do your posts show that you were present in the U.S.?
Easy! If your posts tell what you are doing, what movies you are seeing, what clubs you are hanging out with your friends at, it doesn't take a detective to figure out your physical location. If your friends tag you in a photo taken in front of the Matterhorn, USCIS knows that you were at Disneyland that day, not in Switzerland.
Similarly, your e-mails, your MySpace or Friendster posts and any other web page where you reveal your identity works just as well as Facebook.
By the way, you also need to prove that you are present in the U.S. on the day that you submit your DACA application. If you ask me to be your friend on Facebook that day, I promise to accept your invitation!
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Updated 12-02-2013 at 01:27 PM by CShusterman