In an address to the nation today, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to try to fix as much of the problem of undocumented immigration and the current immigration system as possible by promising to take a series of steps using his executive power.
In summary, President Obama will authorize the implementation of a new immigration program called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010.
DAPA will provide temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for a period of 3 years. Parents will have to demonstrate several requirements, including good moral character and that their children were born on or before November 20, 2014, the date of the presidential announcement.
It will also expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday. These individuals will now be eligible if they have lived in the country since January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are now. The DACA relief period will also be extended to 3 years.
This means that the President's action will benefit approximately 5 million immigrants.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not begin accepting applications until early 2015. They do not yet give an exact date as to when the new measures will begin to be implemented.
These are the 3 key points of President Obama's executive action:
1. End illegal immigration at the border. - to this end, it will reinforce resources at the border (with more agents) in order to apprehend immigrants at the border.
2. Prioritize the deportation of criminals and not families. - a new law enforcement program will be implemented, called Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) which will replace the Secure Communities program and whose objective is to identify and remove criminals from state and local jails for deportation. Under this program, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will ask jails to notify them when they are considering releasing undocumented inmates who were found guilty of certain crimes, as outlined in the Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum (Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum)The ICE Field Office Director determines that an alien is a danger to national security.
3. Accounting for undocumented immigrants - through a criminal background check and payment of taxes, undocumented individuals who have lived in the U.S. for 5 or more years and are parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be able to enroll in a process that will allow them to remain temporarily in the U.S. and obtain work permits without fear of deportation.
During your speech clarified that his executive action will not be a substitute for the long-term solutions that only comprehensive integrated immigration legislation could provide. Therefore, he said he will continue to work with Congress to pass a bipartisan bill.
I will be reporting in more detail in other articles on InmigracionHoy.com.
Here is the video of the President's speech: