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630-932-9100
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Breaking Down President Obama’s Immigration Order

Posted on in Immigration
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immigration order, border security, Chicago immigration attorney, drug-related violence, executive order, immigration reform, President Obama, president obama's immigration orderIn late November, President Barack Obama announced the enacting of a sweeping initiative on the subject of immigration. This had been in the works since mid-summer, when immigration reform came to the forefront of the nation’s political discussions after a large influx of unaccompanied minor children from Central America were admitted at the country’s southern border. Congress was unable to pass a bill in the months following, and given the current mood of the electorate, President Obama has seen fit to announce his plan, to be enacted via executive order.

Three Main Goals

In his primetime speech to the country delivered on November 20, the president stated that his plan has three major goals that he hopes to accomplish. The first is improving border security. The situation at our borders, especially in the south, is difficult for both Border Patrol agents and those attempting to enter. Drug-related violence in particular is endemic, with the U.S. side experiencing what the Washington Office on Latin America calls “some of the world’s highest levels of violent crime.”

The second and third goals go together: promoting opportunities for immigrants with skills and education, and managing the status of those currently in the country without proper documentation. The president argued in his speech that it is possible to do both; to extend a pathway of deportation relief to those who are not threats to national security, and to hold accountable those who have entered the country illegally. People who entered the U.S. without inspection will have to ‘get right with the law,’ but if they do so, they will not be deported if they have no criminal record.

Changes to Existing Programs

In order to help realize these goals, several changes will be made to existing systems and program and include the following:

  • Protecting the parents of children who are U.S. citizens (whether born here or naturalized). If they have been present more than five years and they can present proof that their child was born before the program’s announcement, they can apply for relief from deportation.
  • Immigration court reforms. For most of the past decade, immigration judges have been extremely overworked due to the enormous backlog of cases. The number of vacancies on some immigration benches eclipses the number of working judges. The president’s plan specifically calls for reforms to the courts in order to better address the backlog.
  • Permitting more people to take advantage of the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Currently, in order to be eligible the applicants must have entered the U.S. on or before June 15, 2007, and were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012. Those dates will be extended to apply to significantly higher numbers of people.
  • Clearer priorities for border security. Agents will be specifically instructed to focus on those who might pose a threat to national security, as well as recent border crossers.
  • Expanding options for foreign entrepreneurs and investors, including changing certain H1B restrictions and allowing the spouses of H1B holders to work. Also, while nothing has yet been finalized, the Department of Homeland Security will work on programs to ease the transition for foreign students who wish to adjust status, especially those in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
  • Long term plans. President Obama stated that he plans the creation of an interagency group which will try to eliminate excess spending and redundant measures, as well as the eventual formulation of a Council on New Americans to help aid the integration of new immigrants.

Contact an Immigration Attorney

While these goals are lofty, the current system is still difficult to navigate, and very often, an attorney can smooth the process. The Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are able to assist in most situations, and we will do our best to get you the help you need. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.

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