Newark, NJ- With the midterm elections over, President Obama appears ready to make sweeping changes to U.S. immigration system through a series of executive orders that could give deportation relief and grant work authorizations to millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in country, an Obama administration official announced Thursday.
The administration official, speaking with anonymity, outlined the 10-point plan of executive actions the president may take, which he could announce as early as next week. The actions vary but will focus on border security, H1-B skilled visa reform, family-based visas and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
With changes to family-based visas, parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents would no longer have to fear deportation and could apply for work authorization. There are two approaches President Obama is contemplating in regards to family-based visas. The first would offer deportation relief to parents of undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for at least five years. An alternate plan would limit residency requirements to 10 years.
The proposed plan would expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a special immigration status given to immigrants under the age of 31 who were brought to the U.S. prior to 2007, to possibly include the parents of eligible recipients. This plan would also give immigrants relief from deportation and permission to work.
Administration officials also said the president could direct immigration officials to prioritize deportations and shift their focus from immigrants who pose a threat to public safety.
Overall, the New York Times estimates that if the president decides to move forward with these proposed executive actions, approximately 5 million immigrants could obtain legal status and avoid deportation.
The administration official was clear that these are just possible actions the president could take, and he has is waiting to meet with other officials before he finalizes the plan. The president has said he will introduce his plan by year’s end and there is speculation that could come as early as next week.
It should be emphasized that any executive actions the president takes are only temporary and could change when the next president takes office in 2017. Permanent changes to immigration laws requires Congress to act, and should lawmakers pass an immigration reform, any laws they pass would supersede the executive actions the president could take.
These policy changes are geared towards the family and would apply to thousands of immigrants living in New Jersey, giving them the opportunity to remain with their loved ones. Offering work authorization would allow immigrants a means to support themselves and give then more financial freedom which would in turn be beneficial to the economy as a whole. These changes should be welcomed and I am prepared to help immigrants with the new policies in any way I can.
These changes, if enacted, will open many doors for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. The actions will also open to the door for unqualified false professionals such as consultants, agents and notorios, lawyers who don’t specialize in immigration law to take advantage of immigrants eager to obtain legal status. There will be many people, lawyers and non-lawyers alike, who will try to capitalize on these changes without having an understanding of the policies or the ability to help an immigrant. Immigrants must be careful who they trust and be wary of paying someone, who is not an immigration attorney, to help them pursue benefits of any new policies the president introduces.
As a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Immigration Project, I understand the current laws and know how the president’s potential actions will work within that framework. If you choose me as your New Jersey immigration attorney, you can be assured that I will be devoted to your case and work tirelessly to help you reach your goals. Immigrants in Clinton, Elmwood Park, Hackensack, Jersey City, and Weehawken can contact my office and set up a consultation to discuss their case.