Immigration Reform is Here: Part II

Last week the President announced that soon a number of new immigration policies will be put in place to help fix our broken immigration system.

What are the new policies?

  • Young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and who have been present since January 1, 2010 will be eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Additionally, the DACA program will be extended from two to three years.
  • A new program called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability will be created. This program will allow the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been present in the country since January 1, 2010 to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, provided they pass required background checks to show that they are not a priority for removal from the United States. If you have had any prior negative contact with law enforcement, you may be ineligible for relief under this new program. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney to determine whether you will be eligible.
  • The spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents, as well as the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, will be eligible to apply for the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.
  • Certain immigrant and nonimmigrant programs will be improved.
  • Naturalization applicants will be allowed to use credit cards to pay their application fee.

When will the new policies go into effect?

  • It will take some time for the policies to go into effect. Each policy has a different timeline.
  • It is predicted that the expansion of the current DACA program will go into effect in about three months.
  • It is predicted that the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability will go into effect in about six months.

What can I do now to prepare?

  • Meet with an immigration lawyer (not a notario) to find out whether you are eligible for relief under one of the new policies.
  • Start gathering documents to prove your identity, such as your original birth certificate, passports, and photo identification cards.
  • If you are eligible under the expanded DACA or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability programs, you will need to prove that you have been in the country since January 1, 2010. Start gathering documents such as lease or mortgage documents, bank records, school records, and medical records now in order to prove this requirement.