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5 Questions About Immigration Reform and Executive Action

  1. What are the reasons for the Executive Action announced by the President on November 20th? President George W. Bush gave a national TV address in May, 2006 to address the immigration problem in the U.S. and the need to reform the immigration system. He said that the vast majority of illegal immigrants were decent people who worked hard, supported their families, practiced their faith, and led responsible lives. They were a part of American life but they were beyond the reach and protection of American law. The situation had not changed in 8 years and recognizing that when he took office, President Obama vowed to enact changes. For 6 years, he tried to do so through legislation.  In June, the Senate passed a bill with a resounding 68 to 32 vote, giving many people real hope that the House of Representatives would follow suit, and that the comprehensive immigration reform that President Obama had vowed to make a reality, would come to fruition. 14 months later, nothing had happened. The House had not moved on this and it was left to rot. President Obama decided to do what he and many U.S. presidents have done over the course of U.S. history: Declare an Executive Action to move forward his mandate as much as possible. Unfortunately, there are certain much-needed changes in immigration laws that will not happen and so this Executive Action will not fix what is broken, it will be only a band-aid. Inevitably, the Presidential election of 2016 will determine what happens with the future of immigrants in the U.S. I hope that President Obama’s message rings loud and clear: “We were strangers once too” – Except for the small percentage of Americans who are Native American, we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants and we should empathize with and embrace those who also share the same dream, ethics and morals and want to make this country stronger and greater. 2. Does this Executive Action build on the previous Executive Actions on Immigration? Yes. It expands on two existing reforms created by Executive Action: - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) - Provisional Waivers of Unlawful Presence It also adds some other proposed measures: a. DACA was extended to ALL people who came to the U.S. under the age of 16 and who arrived before January 1, 2010. Unfortunately the age was not extended to 18, which would have been logical, since 18 is the legal age of majority in the U.S. This means all those who came here between the age of 16 and 18 are not eligible, even if they have lived here for more than 5 years. b. A waiver is in effect a legal pardon for an immigration infraction, in this case an illegal overstay and/or entry without inspection (Illegal entry without documents). Currently, only spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens are allowed to apply to obtain a provisional waiver, if a visa is available. This Executive Action will expand the reach of this waiver to spouses, sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens to get a waiver. Before this existed people would have to leave the country with the hope of getting the waiver approved at the US Embassy in their native country, which was a very risky proposition. c. DAPA – will allow adults who have been in the U.S. since before 2010 and have children born in the U.S., to apply for Deferred Action and Employment Authorization. d. What is labeled “Modernization, improvement and clarification of  immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs” – Supposed to be used for U.S. businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers. – This is still pretty vague for now. e. Naturalization – Push to make the process more accessible and clear 3. Which of the reforms will have the most impact? Most definitely DAPA – deferred action for parents – Simply put this will potentially benefit over 4 million people, because it covers all people who have been continuously in the US for more than 5 years and who have had children born at any time up to November 20, 2014. That is because all children born in the U.S. become U.S. citizens and under the law as it stands right now, US born children cannot sponsor their parents for legal permanent residence until they turn 21.  This has created many families with two extremes in the same household; USC children and parents who are undocumented and have no status. The idea is to keep these families together. The impact will be felt in the economy, as many of those eligible for DAPA are currently working illegally, without valid employment authorization.  This will create a situation where they will apply individually and if approved, they will be given employment authorization.  Employers will have to choose between putting them on the payroll, which means paying them minimum wage plus whatever benefits are required by law, or letting them go. Employers who exploit as part of their business model, will end up employing newly arrived, undocumented foreigners or those who don’t qualify for this or any other new remedy. It’s important to note that anyone with a criminal record will probably not qualify for any of these measures. Since the President’s priority under what is called Prosecutorial Discretion is to continue to deport all criminals, this will not change. Anyone who has a criminal record will want to assess whether it’s worth even applying. 4. What are the greatest weaknesses of the Executive Action? a. There is no clear path to citizenship, or legal residence and there is not even granting of any real conditional residence. People will be allowed to work legally and be protected from deportation, but they will not be given a visa status of any kind, which means no clear path to legal permanent residence and also no ability to travel and leave the country. In essence they will be allowed to remain trapped here, as they already are. If they leave because there is no mechanism for advanced parole created, then they will be barred from reentry for 10 years. There is no mention of advanced parole in the information provided to date, so right now this is simply a way for them to work legally but get no other benefits. It is a step out of the shadows but not necessarily a step forward. b. The much-needed changes, like the elimination of annual caps for visa categories like H-1B or EB-5, are not within the purview of an Executive Action.  Therefore, it is not possible to address the true fundamental changes/overhauls that are needed in the system and will not be fixed until Congress steps in and does something about it. 5. What does the future hold for the immigration system? It all depends on Congress coming together, making a bill into a law and putting it into action. Until then, we can only apply these band-aids to the situation that don’t solve the cracked foundation this country is built on. If Republicans care enough about the Latino vote, they will be forced to move immigration reform forward in Congress or risk another Democratic president at the helm.You can follow this links:

Immigration Reform Affects Us ALL

“We were strangers once too.” These 5 words not only stirred deep emotions in the millions of people watching President Obama announce immigration reform last week, but also reminded us of this nation’s roots and the common thread that we all share: We are a nation of immigrants, children, grandchildren, descendants of people from all over the world.  That has not changed but due to economic factors in a complicated world of economies of scale and widespread economic inequality, which has led to increased global migration, including increased movement to the U.S., a segment of undocumented and illegal people from other countries have formed a formidable “invisible” working class in the U.S. The result of this is almost 12 million undocumented people, some of whom are: - Children who came at a young age - Children who were born in the U.S. And a hard-working class of adults who help increase profit margins for employers and take the jobs that many Americans won’t. On the Eve of Thanksgiving, President Obama announced the Executive Action to reform the U.S. immigration system. The timing is apt considering that Thanksgiving is the one completely unique American holiday, celebrating our immigrant origins and bringing people together in our homes, irrespective of race, culture, religion or socioeconomic class. Why is this action significant? Because it affects ALL of us. Anyone who is an immigrant or who has contact with immigrants in any way, can now take part in maximizing the positive goals of this reform, on the most basic, human level. We can help people we interact with on a daily basis benefit from this action. Just to name a few: - Nannies - Maids/Cleaning Personnel/Janitors - Restaurant or Hotel Kitchen Employees - Waitresses/Bartenders- Farm Laborers - Back Office Workers- Landscapers - Construction Workers All the immigrants you know who work in these jobs, including perhaps even in your home, or at your job, might be able to apply for remedies under the new immigration reform that gives them legal employment authorization and protection from possible deportation. For official information and updates please go to the USCIS website. If you are one of these people or know anyone who is, please contact an experienced licensed immigration attorney for more guidance and assistance.  You can follow this links:SMA Law Firm

Analyses of the Presidents Memos Regarding his executive order as it applies to family cases. Part I

On November 21, 2014, President Obama issued two Presidential Memoranda clarifying his previous broadcast of the  executive actions on immigration, known as the "Immigration Accountability Executive Actions."  These memos establish further directives for assimilating immigrants and refugees into the American society, as well as directives for updating and reorganization the visa procedures. The following is a summary of the family related components of the President's declaration, the other aspects of the memos will be discussed in Part II: 1.    Enlarging the DACA membership. The present Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be modified as follows: The existing age cap (31 as of the date of the original DACA publication) has been removed and the eligibility cut-off date by which an applicant is required have been in the United States will be changed to January 1, 2010 as opposed to the original June 15, 2012 date.  In other words, no age cap. DACA and work permission will be permitted for 3 years. The new three-year time period applies to pending DACA renewal applications.USCIS anticipates beginning to accept DACA applications under the modified program within 90 days of November 20, 2014.2.    Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). USCIS will create a new deferred action procedure, comparable to DACA, for individuals who (1) have a U.S. citizen or LPR son or daughter (of any age) as of November 20, 2014; (2) have been continuously present in the U.S. since before January 1, 2010; and (3) were physically present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014 and are present at the time of requesting DAPA. All applicants are required to pass background checks and must not  be labeled as an enforcement priority under the new memorandum. DAPA will be granted for a three-year period.USCIS anticipates that it will begin to accept DAPA applications within 180 daysof November 20, 2014. Enforcement Priorities (these individuals will not qualify for these executives orders, except under certain circumstances) a.    Priority 1: Threats to national security, border security, and public safety. This includes suspected terrorists, people captured at the border, intentional gang participants (as well as those who were convicted of a gang- related offense), and convicted felons (excludes state/local status-related offenses).b.    Priority 2: Misdemeanants and new immigration violators. This includes individuals convicted of a "significant misdemeanor" or three or more misdemeanors arising out of three separate schemes (excludes traffic and status-related violations); people who entered unlawfully after January 1, 2014; and people who have "significantly abused" the visa or visa waiver programs.c.    Priority 3: Other immigration violations. Those who have been issued a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014. 3.    Extension of the Provisional Waiver Program.  The USCIS will enlarge the I-601A provisional waiver application process. Currently, only immediate relatives (spouses and children of U.S. citizens and parents of adult U.S. citizens) who can demonstrate extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent are entitled to apply for a provisional waiver. USCIS will "expand access to the provisional waiver program to all statutorily eligible classes of relatives for whom an immigrant visa is immediately available.  This action would seemingly include any family-based preference category beneficiary with an approved I-130 and a current priority date who can establish "extreme hardship" to a citizen or LPR spouse or parent. This I-601A Provisional waiver will be set up by regulation. No specific time frame is stipulated.Currently establishing extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen spouse is difficult at best as there are no concrete guidelines.  Therefore adjudicators receiving cases with similar fact patters, make different decision.Under the memo USCIS must provide guidance on the definition of "extreme hardship" that will clarify the elements that are considered in determining whether the "extreme hardship" standard has been met. USCIS is also to consider criteria by which a presumption of extreme hardship may apply.  If this actually takes place processing of these cases will be easier and less expensive to the immigrant and family.Learn more about immigration law: apsanlaw.comSource : AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14112446. (Posted 11/24/14)

Understand the Obama Executive Actions on Immigration: The Affects on DACA, DAPA and the I-601A waiver

On November 20, 2014, President Obama broadcasted a series of executive actions for immigration relief. There are three sections I will discuss in this article. DACA Expanding those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years. Now more people will be eligible.*     Allows an individual born prior to June 15, 1981, to apply for DACA *    Requires continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010, not prior to June 15, 2007 as originally required*    Extends the deferred action period and employment authorization to three years from the current two years. FOR PARENTS OF US CITIZEN & LEGAL RESIDENTS called DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program) Allowing 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 MORE PEOPLE WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR I-601A Waiver Currently, only spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens are allowed to apply to obtain a provisional waiver.  Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens When will USCIS begin accepting applications related to these executive initiatives?USCIS expects to begin accepting applications for the expanded DACA program  and the Parents program and the new I-601A waiver approximately 90 days after the President's November 20, 2014, announcement; andWhat should you do while USCIS is not accepting applications. Prepare...Prepare...Prepare!Individuals who think they may be eligible for one or more of the new initiatives may prepare now by assembling documentation that establishes the basic elements such as their:1.  Identity;2.  Relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and3.  Continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.For more information go to and

Immigration Reform Debate Tonight

TONIGHT PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL EXPLAIN HIS NEW IMMIGRATION POLICY   The TV program VOCE e A Lei,  on SIC International Portuguese TV  and will feature a special show this evening at 8:45 to discuss President Obama’s New Program.   Dr. Moises Apsan and Luis Pires will host the program.   Find out :   ·      If you or your family will be included; ·      What will the process look like; ·      How long should it take; ·      Will you receive a work permit? Permission to travel? ·      What happens if you have received an order for deportation?   Learn the answers to these questions and more.   THIS WILL BE A LIVE CALL IN SHOW.   You can see is on SIC International Cable stations and also on though the internet.   Don’t forget to attend.  This will be a historic event.
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5 Questions About Immigration Reform and Executive Action News Agency

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Immigration Reform Affects Us ALL News Agency

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Analyses of the Presidents Memos Regarding his executive order as it applies to family cases. Part I News Agency

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Understand the Obama Executive Actions on Immigration: The Affects on DACA, DAPA and the I-601A waiver News Agency

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Immigration Reform Debate Tonight News Agency

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Finally, Obama Will Announce a New Immigration Plan tommorow evening - stay tuned News Agency

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Obama has had enough! New 10 Point Immigration Administrative Action on Horizon. News Agency

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Executive Order for Immigration Reform , The Secret Weapon of Many Presidents News Agency

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The President who Cried Wolf, Once too Often News Agency

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