The Immediate (and Not So Immediate) Impact of Obama's Immigration Announcement
President Obama has announced Executive Action on immigration reform. Now what?
Some of the measures take effect immediately, while other reforms will take longer.
Those reforms to deferred action won’t be fully implemented for six months, after applications can be accepted. While Obama waits and hopes, Congress will take some action that will be more comprehensive and lasting.
So when will we see what?
1. Relief For 4 Million From Fear of Deportation – Immediately.
While they can’t file their application for 6-months, those who qualify for deferred action through a son or daughter that is a U.S. citizen will feel immediate relief.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are instructed to “immediately begin identifying persons in their custody” who meet the criteria; as well as consider the new criteria for “all individuals encountered.”
So that means parents of a U.S. citizen can now go about their lives free from constant fear of deportation.
For those who qualify for expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Dreamer status, those applications can be filed in 90-days.
2. President Selling His plan – Immediately.
Starting today, President Obama hits the road to sell his plan to the American public and put pressure on the GOP to get something passed in Congress.
He speaks at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas—the same place he visited nearly two years ago to lay out his principles for reform. But it’s not just the everyday Americans he is trying to get on board.
“I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution,” he said in his speech. “And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.”
So expect him to continue putting pressure on the GOP to get something done.
3. Advocate Groups Will Organize Sign-Ups and Seminars – This Weekend.
Almost immediately, immigration groups will begin holding information sessions to help those impacted understand what they need to do to gain deferred action, as well as who exactly will qualify.
Also, don’t expect them to slow down their efforts. While claiming success for President Obama finally acting, most groups are continuing to push for more action to include those left out and get congress to move forward.
4. New Staffing and Resources at Border – Coming Weeks.
In the coming days we should get a better picture of the new staffing and resources for the border and when exactly they go into effect.
We do know there will be a new task force made up of the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
According to a Department of Homeland Security memo, within 90 days there should be a realigning of personnel to accomplish these task forces, all while maintaining the “the surge of resources” sent to the U.S.-Mexico border during the unaccompanied minors crisis over the summer.
We can also expect to see an overall change in the priorities, as outlined by the President, for CBP and ICE.
Their first priority for deportation: those that are threats to national security, followed by those with three or more misdemeanors, and lastly those “who have been issued a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014.”
5. Credit Card Payments for Naturalization Fee — End of 2015.
It’s not cheap to become a citizen! The cost of naturalization is about $680, but you can’t currently pay for it with a credit card, which may be why so many permanent residents never take the next step to become citizens
Come the end of 2015, you can use your credit card.
6. Adjustments to High Tech Worker Visas – It’s Not Clear.
In a memo to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson outlined steps to improve the backlog for green cards and visas for high skilled workers, but no timetable is given.
What we will see, however, is a modernization to the process. That means the Department of State and USCIS will work together more closely so temporary status doesn’t expire as quickly.
Additionally, the 2007 expansion that allows students in STEM to stay an additional 17-months, for a total of 29-months on their “optional practical training” visa could also be increased.
“I direct that Immigration and Customs Enforcement and USCIS develop regulations for notice and comment to expand the degree programs eligible for OPT and extend the time period and use of OPT for foreign STEM students and graduates, consistent with law,” the memo outlines.