Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search

President Obama's Executive Action Plans on Immigration
Share |

Executive Action on Immigration FAQ


Introduction

On November 20, 2015, President Obama announced his executive actions on immigration. His announcement came after the failure of Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, in spite of the fact that the Senate passed an immigration bill in June of 2013.

API Immigration Data Breakdown

There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States; 1.3 million are estimated to be Asian Pacific Islander (API).

 

There are 2.1 million undocumented individuals considered Dreamers. Of those, 1 in 10 are from Asia.

 

15%, or about 40,000, of all undocumented LGBT individuals are API.

                                                                                        

In 2007, APA families used 64% of all visas issued to adult married children of U.S. citizens and 75% of all visas issued to siblings of U.S. citizens.

 

Women overwhelmingly immigrate through the family visa category. 70% of immigrant women employ this method of immigration. Only a quarter of all employment based visas are awarded to women.

          

As of 2012, there are 1.8 million API family-based visa applicants waiting for approval. Chinese and Indian applicants may have to wait up to 10 years; whereas Filipino applicants may be waitlisted for up to 23 years.

 

63% of all foreign-born STEM employees are of a non-Hispanic, Asian origin.

 

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA is a program administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency that provides temporary deportation relief and work authorization for individuals brought to the United States as children. Individuals eligible for DACA, as of November 20, 2014, must meet the following guidelines:

  • Have no legal immigration status on November 20, 2014;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010;
  • Were present in the United States on November 20, 2014 and at the time of the application;
  • Is currently in school, has graduated, or obtained a certificate of completion from high school; or
  • Has obtained a general education development certificate (GED) or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • Pass a background check;
  • and Are not considered an enforcement priority, which include felonies and misdemeanors, as well as suspected gang activity and convictions of domestic violence.

The expansion of DACA is expected to sometime in February. However, USCIS is already granting three year-long deferment instead of the previous two year length.

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)

DAPA is a program administered by USCIS that provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs). An estimated 400,000 Asian Pacific Islander parents will be impacted by this program. Individuals eligible for DAPA must meet the following guidelines:

  • Have no legal immigration status on November 20, 2014;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010;
  • Have a U.S. citizen or LPR child as of November 20, 2014;
  • Were present in the United States on November 20, 2014 and at the time of the application;
  • Pass a background check; and
  • Are not considered an enforcement priority, which include felonies and misdemeanors, as well as suspected gang activity and convictions of domestic violence.

DAPA is expected to be implemented in May, 2015.

Both DACA and DAPA must be renewed every three years (previously two years for DACA). Each application has a fee of $465. DACA and DAPA recipients are not eligible for federal benefits, such as federal financial aid and food stamps. However, in certain states, recipients are able to access state benefits, such as instate tuition and driver’s licenses. Click HERE for more information about the DACA and DAPA process.

Visa Backlogs

The President’s announcement did not include any immediate policy recommendations. Instead, his Visa Modernization Memorandum creates an interagency group to submit recommendations to the President by March 20, 2015. The priorities of the task force are to improve efficiency, ensure that all available visas are used, and create a stronger infrastructure.

Family Reunification

The President ordered a directive to USCIS to expand family members eligible forprovisional waivers. Previously, only the spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. citizens were eligible to apply for provisional waivers. The President’s directive changes those eligible to apply to include: the adult children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as the spouses and minor children of LPRs. USCIS has yet to adopt the directive.

In order for someone be eligible for a provisional waiver, they must demonstrate that their absence would cause an “extreme hardship” for their LPR or U.S. citizen spouse or parent. The directive also instructs USCIS to further define “extreme hardship”.

Employment Visas

Part of the President’s executive orders included a Memorandum from Secretary Johnson from the Department of Homeland Security to USCIS to improve the employment-based immigration system. The suggested changes include –

  • A guidance for USCIS to find ways to reduce wait times for employment-based visas and improve visa processing;
    • Ensure that all visas authorized for usage are issued to eligible applicants;
    • Amend regulations to ensure that, in certain cases, individuals with approved long-standing employment visa petitions will not lose their place in line if they change jobs and/or employers;
  • Reforms to the Optical Practice Training (OPT) program to allow foreign STEM students on F-1 visas to stay longer for training
    • Expand the degrees available to apply for OPT
  • Expanded opportunities for foreign investors, researchers, and founders of start-ups;
    • USCIS will issue guidance or regulations to clarify the standards for a national interest waiver;
    • USCIS should propose a program to allow individuals not yet qualified for a national interest waiver to qualify for parole. The standard for this will include income and resource thresholds;
  • USCIS will issue a Memorandum defining the meaning of “specialized knowledge” in the adjudication of L-1B visa petitions;
    • Multinational companies can petition for intracompany transfers of mangers, executives, or employees with specialized knowledge through the L-1B visa program;
  • USCIS will issue a Memorandum clarifying job changes that fall under a “same or similar” job;
    • Current law allows individuals with an employment visa seeking law permanent residency in the United States the ability to change jobs, but only if the new job is considered in a “same or a similar” occupational classification.

Naturalization

  • As of January 2015, USCIS will accept naturalization fees by credit;
    • Previously, it was only by money order or check;
  • USCIS is also directed to include the feasibility of a partial fee waiver in the next biennial fee study.
Sign In


Forgot your password?

Haven't registered yet?

Latest News
Calendar

1/20/2017 » 1/22/2017
January National Board Meeting

OCA National Center
1322 18th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
 
P: (202) 223-5500 | F: (202) 296-0540 | E: oca@ocanational.org