The majority of the publicity surrounding President Obama's Executive Action last week is concerned with the relief it gives to undocumented immigrants. Contrary to some reports, the proposals do NOT offer any amnesty or path to citizenship, and are just temporary measures.
1. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Expansion.
In June 2012, President Obama announced that some undocumented people, who had come to the US as children, would not be deported. These people are sometimes referred to as "Dreamers" after a proposed bill called the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
Obama's Executive Action expands the relief available as follows:
The USCIS website explains the former requirements for DACA.
All except the first and third criteria still apply.
USCIS may begin accepting applications approximately 90 days from November 20, 2014
2. Relief for Parents of Permanent Residents and Citizens
The most controversial element of Obama's proposals allow for the undocumented parents of US citizens or permanent residents to get work authorization and relief from deportation for 3 years. Applicants will need to register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before November 20, 2014.
The requirements are:
USCIS may begin accepting applications approximately 180 days (6 months) from November 20, 2014.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.