Many immigrant families in California welcomed President Obama's Nov. 20 speech in which he announced taking executive action on immigration reform, effectively side-stepping Congress. The new reforms and programs announced by the President are good news for many people who wish to be able to remain in the United States while gaining the ability to legally work and live.
The major changes lie in newly available relief through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as well as the deferred action for parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents program. DACA applies to people who have been in the United States continuously since 2010 who arrived in the country as children to apply. The changes include removal of the upper age limit, meaning people born before June 15, 1981 are now eligible to apply. The changes should be implemented within 90 days of the President's announcement. The deferral period was extended from two to three years and allows those who are eligible to receive permission to work and live in the U.S.
Undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are also eligible if they have lived in the country since Jan. 1, 2010. To be eligible, the U.S. citizen or resident must have been born prior to Nov. 20, 2014 and the parent must not be under an enforcement action. The law will go into effect approximately 180 days following Obama's announcement.
President Obama's executive action on immigration reform makes many positive changes for people who may be undocumented but who want to be able to remain and contribute to their adopted country. For those who are eligible, seeking the assistance of a family immigration attorney may be advisable.
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Executive Actions on Immigration ", November 24, 2014