Among other executive actions, on November 20, 2014, the President announced significant changes to removal and deportation policies, as well as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Shapiro Law Group stands ready to help anyone impacted by these executive actions and new policies.
Specifically, the President announced that, by executive order, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would implement new enforcement and removal policies that would place top priority for removal on national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border. Second-tier priority for removal would apply to those convicted of significant or multiple misdemeanors and those who are not apprehended at the border, but who entered or reentered this country unlawfully after January 1, 2014; and third priority would apply to those who are non-criminals but who have failed to abide by a final order of removal issued on or after January 1, 2014.
Under the revised policy, individuals who illegally entered the US prior to January 1, 2014, who never disobeyed a prior order of removal, and were never convicted of a serious offense, will not be deemed “priorities” for removal.
The new Priority Enforcement Program will continue to rely on fingerprint data and will identify the specific criteria for which the DHS will take an individual into custody, but the list of largely criminal offenses will be taken from the first and second tiers of the new enforcement priorities as discussed above. Additionally, DHS will implement plans to engage state and local governments on enforcement priorities and will enhance Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) ability to arrest, detain, and remove individuals who are deemed threats to national security, border security, or public safety.
Also of note, among the President’s executive orders, were expansions of eligibility criteria for the DACA program. Specifically, DACA eligibility will be expanded to cover all undocumented immigrants who entered the US before the age of 16, rather than just those born after June 15, 1981. The entry date will also be adjusted from June 15, 2007, to January 1, 2010, and the relief (including work authorization) will last for three years instead of two years.
Similarly, DHS will extend eligibility for deferred action to individuals who (i) are not removal priorities under the new priority policy, (ii) have been in this country at least 5 years, (iii) have children who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents as of November 20, 2014, and (iv) present no other factors that would make a grant of deferred action inappropriate. Individuals that meet these criteria will be assessed for eligibility for deferred action on a case-by-case basis, and may then be permitted to apply for work authorization. Individuals will undergo a thorough background check of all relevant national security and criminal databases, including DHS and FBI databases.
It is important to note that the initiatives identified in the executive orders have not yet been implemented. The immigration attorneys at the Shapiro Law Group will provide updates as additional legislative and regulatory actions are taken.
The Chicago immigration lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group stand ready and able to help foreign nationals seek deferred action or obtain the necessary immigration documents that they need. We support immigration reform, which is designed to make the immigration system more efficient and effective. If you would like additional information about the President’s executive order on immigration, contact our office at (847)564-0712 to speak with an immigration attorney.