Immigration and firm news

President Obama Announces Executive Action Plans

A short summary of President Obama’s announcement tonight on Executive Action is on my advocacy blog, Seattleimmigrationlawyerblog.  Information in the form of policy memos, FAQs and more is starting to pour in from the various agencies about how they will implement the program. However, many details remain to be seen and will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.  The Administration’s plan calls for expansion of deferred action, expansion of those who can file for provisional stateside waivers of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility, a new policy memo on the use of advance parole, some tweaks to the business immigration system, additional border enforcement, revised prosecutorial discretion criteria, and more.  I will touch on each of these in separate posts in the coming days, so stay tuned to this blog.

Here is a punch list of new policies. Keep in mind that President Obama cannot create new visas, green cards, change their requirements, grant “amnesty” or “legalization,” or change the visa and green card quotas.  Since there is no path to legalization, green cards, or citizenship, beneficiaries of deferred action are not going to be voters, will not be eligible for most public benefits, and will not be able to sponsor relatives.  All of these things require an act of Congress.  So far, Congress has chosen not to act.  Deferred action in particular is an interim band aid while the country waits for Congressional action.

New Policies

1. Expansion of deferred action – a deferment or delay of deportation. It does include work authorization. It changes the requirements for the existing DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program from 2012 and adds a new category called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).  There will not be any deadlines for application. Deferred action will be for three years rather than two. DACA age limits will be removed and applicants must have continuous residence in the USA since January 1, 2010, and must have been in the USA November 20, 2014.  It does not apply to any current or future illegal border crossers. DACA/DAPA will be given for three years.

2.  Update on prosecutorial discretion memos to govern ICE, CBP and USCIS enforcement action and what factors to consider in determining who to arrest, detain, initiate removal proceedings against and/or whether to carry out removal orders.

3.  A new DHS memo on enforcement activities and resource allocations along the Southern Border.

4.  A DHS memo dismantling the Secure Communities program.

5.  A DHS memo on ICE Personnel policies.

6.  A new DHS memo on expansion of the provisional waiver program for unlawful presence three and 10-year bars for people intending to immigrate at a US consulate abroad.

7.  A new DHS memo on modernization of business visa adjudication for highly skilled workers.

8.  A new DHS and DOL memo on inter-agency enforcement of worker protections.

9.  A new DOL memo to look at modernizing the PERM labor certification process for business green cards.

10. A new DHS memo on promotion of access to naturalization, including accepting credit cards for filing fees, more grounds for fee waivers, etc.

11.  A new policy memo on advance parole affecting immigrants’ rights to adjust status after return from an authorized trip abroad.

Next Steps

Next steps will require the government to staff up for the expected millions of deferred action applicants, development and formulation of implementation procedures.  Aside from checking this blog periodically, it is good to check the websites for,,, DOL (, and (DOS) in the coming weeks. (Note, any websites using these acronyms ending in .com are NOT official government websites.)

Preparing Now for Application

If you think eventually you might want to apply for any of these programs, now is a good time to put a file together with these items:

1.  Original certified birth certificate with translation.

2. Original certified copy of all marriage certificates and divorce decrees with translation.

3.  Original certified copies of all children’s birth certificates with translation.

4. Evidence of continuous residence in the USA since January 1, 2010 and proof of physical presence in the USA on November 20, 2014. (Examples include leases, work and school records, tax returns, utility bills, medical records, bank and insurance statements. Get that evidence of physical presence on November 20, 2014 NOW!!)

5. Evidence of date of entry into the USA (if available – e.g., passports with visas and stamps, I-94s, etc.)

6.  Original passports and other government issued of proof of identity (with photo ID)

7. “Get right with the law” – make sure you have made all required tax filings (local, state and federal), even if you have to file for years past.  And make sure to consult with an accountant about claiming dependents abroad.  Depending upon your situation, those could be illegal exemptions or deductions.  If you do not have a valid Social Security Number see the Internal Revenue Service website regarding Individual Taxpayer ID Numbers (ITINs).  See also

8.  If you are between 18 and 26, you must register with the Selective Service regardless of status.  Although you may not be drafted and could be ineligible to serve in the military, all males must register at  This will be important down the road if ever there is a “pathway to citizenship.”

Get Legal Advice

Potential deferred action applicants with the following problems should definitely consult with counsel:

1.  Anyone with a history of arrests, convictions, citations, prison or jail time served anywhere in the world, even if expunged or dismissed.  (Order your records now so you can bring them to your appointment with an attorney.)

2.  False statements or false documents given to any US government agency or officer for any immigration benefit or for any state or local law if involving US citizenship claims, and including Form I-9s at work, or applications for licenses, permits, scholarships, social security, taxes, voter registration, etc.

3.  Prior deportations, voluntary departure/return, removal proceedings, denied immigration benefits applications. You or your counsel may need to order your file, which can take months to get.

4.  Receipt of public benefits in the USA.

5.  Any other unusual issues or problems such as having been involved in smuggling others, having a contagious disease.

Watch out for Scams!

Beware of who is permitted under the immigration laws to help you! The only people who may give legal advice, help select and complete forms, and file cases on your behalf are the following:
1. US licensed attorneys in good standing (check with the state bar of any state)
2. Board of Immigration Appeals accredited organizations and representatives. See EOIR Roster and cross check with disciplinary list.
3. Law students working under supervision of a professor or licensed attorney
4. “Reputable individuals” with whom you have a pre-existing relationship and whose help you request (family, friend, clergy), who does not charge a fee, and who get permission from USCIS.
5. Certain accredited officials (e.g., consular officer)

If you need free help, see See “Avoid Scams” which includes How to Find Legal Help.

If you can afford an attorney, besides this firm, you can find immigration attorneys who belong to the American Immigration Lawyers Association at