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President Obama’s New Immigration Plan – Who, What and When?

President Obama’s New Immigration Plan – Who, What and When?

On Thursday night, President Obama announced an immigration plan that will protect nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. In a televised speech, President Obama states that the enforcement effort should be focused on “Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids.” The new laws, impacting mostly parents and young people, marked the most sweeping reform to U.S. immigration laws in almost three decades.

Who will benefit under the new law? 

In President Obama’s speech, he announces, “If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.” Please note that the specific details of the law have not been finalized. The following only outlines the general criteria of the new law. The main beneficiaries of the president’s actions are immigrants who:

  1. Have been in the United State for more than five years and
  2. Must have children who are U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) and
  3. Register and pass a criminal background check and
  4. Willing to pay your fair share of taxes

The new immigration law will not benefit anyone who has come to this country recently or anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. In addition, the temporary protection does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay in the U.S. permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive.

What benefits will I receive?

It has not been finalized what government benefits will be granted. In his speech, President Obama stated that the new law would only protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. However, we do think that the immigrants that are eligible for relief under the new plan will be allowed to work. In 2012, President Obama created a new policy calling for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children (DACA). Individuals that were granted deferred action were given work authorization cards. We suspect similar benefits will be granted under the new law. 

Whether driver’s licenses are granted is usually decided by each state. While some states allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses, other states deny licenses to immigrants without a legal status.

When can I start my application?

The application procedures and specific requirements have not been finalized. It is unlikely the application process will start right away, but we expect the official application process to start early to spring 2015. Please check United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for most updated information regarding application process and eligibility. However, if you believe you are eligible for relief, you can prepare by gathering necessary documents. In order to qualify for the relief one must meet all requirements. It is imperative to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before starting the application process. Be aware of persons falsely posing as lawyers and other common scams.

U.S. Immigration Attorney, Robert K. D’Andrea (J.D., M.B.A.) practices exclusively in the area of immigration and naturalization law and is a principal of D’Andrea Law Corporation. Offices are located in Glendora (510 S. Grand Ave., Suite 203, Glendora, CA 91741) and Pasadena (1055 E. Colorado Blvd, Suite 500, Pasadena, CA 91106). Contact the firm for a free consultation. Tel: (626) 852-8600, Chinese: (626) 852-9838. Email: info@DandreaLaw.com. Website: www.DandreaLaw.com.