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What to Expect from Obama’s Executive Plan for Immigration

Although some Republican lawmakers are concocting a plan to block the recently announced Immigration Accountability Executive Action, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is already preparing to carry out some of the most work-intensive portions of this plan. To this end, a new operational center in Northern Virginia is being quickly staffed with 1,000 new hires to handle what is expected to be a massive flurry of applications to adjust immigration status.

In a nutshell, the White House is seeking to significantly expand the deferred action provisions that could protect up to five million undocumented immigrants who may fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs. Another important aspect of this executive action is that DHS will no longer be proactive in its policing and enforcement of unauthorized immigrants who were targeted by the Secure Communities program, which is a vestige of the Patriot Act era under former President George W. Bush. This means that immigrants will no longer feel accosted by federal and state law enforcement agents, who will now be directed to look for immigrants who are convicted criminals and who may pose a threat to communities.

Another major element of the new immigration policy by virtue of executive action is the New Americans Task Force, which is being created to encourage naturalization to those immigrants who may qualify for this benefit. The idea is to integrate immigrants who may feel intimidated by the bureaucratic process of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The benefits granted to immigrants who join the U.S. Armed Forces will extended in part to their dependents, and those high-skilled workers who immigrate through H-1B and similar visas will also be encouraged to become part of their communities by becoming lawful permanent residents.

It is important to note that this executive action is not a haphazard decision solely undertaken by President Obama and his White House. The memoranda issued by the President relate to matters concerning immigration reform, but existing memoranda previously and internally issued by DHS and USCIS involve carrying out immediate procedures to enact the provisions of this new and ambitious plan. Immigration law firms in San Diego and around the country are closely following developments to better serve their clients in this regard.

For more information or questions about Obama’s Executive Plan for Immigration, call 858-874-0711 and schedule a free immigration consultation with a professional lawyer from Kazmi and Sakata.

April 2024