Update: Now appears no requirement to pay back taxes for deferred action parents.
Update: Reporters – Shoot me an email at email@example.com if you want to speak and we can connect by cell phone after that. Greg
Update: WH now saying application process will probably start in the spring for the deferred action programs.
Note – This information is subject to change after I see the final document being released, but I believe everything here is accurate. I will make changes to this summary if I learn new details or to make necessary corrections.
My initial take: Wow! We were being prepared for the deferred action expansion which was great. But the employment immigration changes are pretty massive as well including the introduction of pre-registration for adjustment of status. H-1B opponents who are not against immigration – just against that particular program – will like this a lot because it will bring portability to high skilled workers in a way that doesn’t exist now. We’ll still need the H-1B visa, but it is no longer going to strangle the economy in the same way.
Incidentally, the program will go under the name “Immigration Accountability Executive Action.” The White House is using the hashtag #immigrationaction to refer to the contents of the President’s announcement.
Here we go –
Deferred Action Expansion
1. Parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents will now be eligible for deferred action is they have been present since 1/1/2010 and have five years of total presence in the US.
Applicants will be subject to background checks
Estimated population benefit will be 4.4 million.
2. DACA expansion
Upper age cap will be eliminated and people of any age can apply if they meet the other requirements.
Physical presence date advanced to 1/1/2010 (same as above).
Applications likely going to be accepted in spring 2015.
The Morton memo is being replaced with an interagency memorandum that sets out new enforcement priorities.
A. Serious threats – suspected terrorists, felons and gang members as well as recent entrants (people who came after 1/1/2014).
B. Significant misdemeanors and multiple misdemeanors – basically, mirroring current DACA guidelines.
C. People who ignored removal orders and reenter the US after 1/1/2014
Individuals who don’t fit in to these groups, but also don’t qualify for IAEA will be eligible for prosecutorial discretion.
The victims of crime memorandum is not being rescinded.
Secure Communities being replaced by Priority Enforcement Program. Under PEP, ICE can put a request in for a local law enforcement agency to detain an individual. It will no longer be automatic.
Legal Immigration Reforms
1. Pre-registration will be available to allow people adjustment of status benefits when an I-140 is approved but no priority date is available. (estimated to benefit 400,000)
2. Using advance parole will not trigger inadmissibility.
3. Parole in place being expanded to
a. certain entrepreneurs
b. enlistees in the military
4. National interest waiver category being broadened via guidance to include foreign entrepreneurs
5. Adjustment “same or similar” portability language being made more user friendly.
6. Optional Practical Training – authorized period of work authorization being lengthened and broadened beyond STEM.
7. PERM – will be modified to make cases move “more easily”
8. 601(a) waivers will be expanded to lawful permanent resident spouses (limited to unlawful presence).
9. “extreme hardship” standard being modified.
There will be a presidential memo and a task force created. More changes may be coming when actual memoranda and regulations are issued.
Timing – some items will be immediate and others will be phased in.
What didn’t make it in tonight’s list –
– parents of DACA
– spouses of USCs and LPRs (though 601(a) waiver changes may take care of many
– changing the way derivatives are counted for green cards
– changes to the H-1B program including easing affiliation rules, cap gap relief for doctors, Neufeld memo easing