Last night President Obama implemented sweeping immigration reform. The President’s reforms will impact many areas of immigration, such as immigration courts and deportations, border security, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applicants, parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, foreign students studying in the U.S., spouses of H-1B visa holders, and U.S. businesses, foreign investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, and highly skilled workers.
As noted on the USCIS website, highlights of President Obama’s Immigration reform plan include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Broadening eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to people who came to this country before turning 16 years-old and who have been present since January 1, 2010. Also, extending the period of DACA and work authorization to three years;
- Enabling parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the United States since January 1, 2010, to apply for deferred action and employment authorization for three years, so long as they pass a background check;
- Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Modernizing and improving immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow the economy and create jobs. Reform in this area may involve changes to the visa bulletin system, National Interest Waivers, and expansion of OPT for foreign students; and
- Providing work authorization to spouses of H-1B visa holders.
The details of these reforms are currently being formulated by U.S. government agencies. At present, most details and specifics of the President’s reforms are unknown and will be unveiled in the coming months.
Anyone who believes they may benefit from these reforms, please contact our office to set up a consultation.