This evening President Obama announced his plan for executive action on immigration. The President has decided to take unilateral action on immigration without support of Congress, and as some polls suggest, without the support of the American populous. President Obama stressed that his immigration action is lawful while critics disagree. He urged congress to pass a bill on immigration reform in the future months.
What does the President’s executive order entail?
The President made three points related to his plan. 1) More resources will be provided to US Border Patrol agents on the US-Mexican border. 2) There should be an easier and faster immigration path for highly skilled workers graduating from US universities. 3) And finally, the need to deal with the current illegal immigrant population in the United States.
Mr. Obama provided a more detailed plan to accomplish his third point in dealing with undocumented individuals currently in the country. He stressed increased deportation of criminal illegal aliens and made clear that his goal was not to tear families apart. Undocumented individuals who have lived in the United States for five or more years, have US citizen or permanent resident children and pass a background check may remain temporarily in the US without fear of deportation. The President also mentioned that this executive order is not a path to citizenship, not a permanent amnesty and not for recent illegal arrivals.
While many people are celebrating the President’s announcement – many questions are left unanswered. Obama stressed that the deferred deportation is not permanent, however, no mention of how long the deferment is valid for is mentioned. Further, many people who followed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012, recognize that still to this day no mention on how long the deferment is valid for has been discussed.
Another issue, and perhaps the most important to immigration lawyers, is how the documentation of these undocumented individuals will slow down the processing of currently pending (and future) legal immigration applications. Many have also questioned, what sort of message is being sent to potential legal immigrants who believe that there is no point to following the law when they can come to the US, overstay and live undocumented until the government provides them amnesty.
For more information on whether you qualify to remain in the United States due to the President’s executive order, or information on any other immigration matters, please feel free to contact our office.
Mr. Barella is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), American Bar Association, National Italian American Bar Association and the Chambre de commerce Québec-Floride. Along with English, Mr. Barella speaks Italian.
Immigration Practice Group