A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Q&As on Pres.Obama's new executive immigration plan

President Obama on November 20, 2014, announced an executive plan to reform the current U.S. immigration system.  The following are some questions and answers regarding his plan:

Q: When will the new plan become effective?
A: President Obama's plan is composed of a number of executive actions addressing different aspects of the U.S. immigration policy.  Some will become effective soon while others will be addressed by new regulations and other agency actions.  For examples, the deferred action plan for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents will become effective with 180 days (on about May 18, 2015).  Expansion of deferred action plan for childhood arrival will become effective with 90 days (on about February 18, 2015).

Q: I am a parent of a U.S. citizen or green card holder.  How do I apply for the President's deferred action plan for undocumented parents?
A: The government has not yet announced the details of the application process.  Nobody should be able to help you submit the application right now.  However, you may gather documents and evidence to get ready to file for this benefit.

Q:  How do I get ready to file for President Obama's deferred action for parents?
A:  You can get ready by gathering documentary evidence to prove your identify (e.g., passport, driver's license, birth certificate), your relationship with your child (e.g., his/her birth certificate), your continuous physical presence in the U.S. for the past five years (e.g., rent receipts, employment documents, school documents, utility bills, insurance documents, etc.).  If you haven't file federal income tax returns, you should file them as soon as possible.  You should also consult with the qualified immigration attorney about your particular situation.

Q:  I have a criminal background.  Would that make me ineligible for deferred action?
A:  You should still consult with a qualified immigration attorney if you have a criminal record.

Q: My spouse is an H-1B employee.  Would I be able to obtain employment authorized document (EAD) soon?
A:  Part of President Obama's plan is to give employment authorization to spouses of H-1B workers in the U.S. A proposed regulation was published in May 2014 to issue EAD to H-4 spouses if they are already in the process of applying for lawful permanent status. The final regulation with more details will likely be implemented early next year.

Q: I already have an immigration court case pending. Would I still be qualified for the President's new plan?
A:  It depends on the status of your immigration case.  If you have been ordered deported from the United States or failed to appear in immigration court before, you may not be qualified for the benefits of the new plan.  You should consult with a qualified immigration attorney about your particular situation.

Q: Would I be able to obtain permanent resident status under President Obama's new plan?
A:  The deferred action plans proposed by President Obama provide a temporary protection of three years for qualified individuals from the danger of deportation.  The plan does not offer any direct way for the undocumented foreign nationals to apply for permanent resident status.

Q: If the President's new plan offers only temporary protection, should I wait for something more permanent before I apply?
A:  Although the President's  immigration reform plan only offers temporary protection, there are many advantages to apply. For examples, qualified individuals will be able to obtain government-issued ID document (EAD) to allow them to live and work in the U.S. legally for three (3) years;  and be able to apply for valid driver's licenses and state ID cards.  Most importantly, they will no longer have to live under the fear of deportation.  Extension of the period of protection is also possible, depending on the political situation. 

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