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On Nov. 20, President Obama addressed the nation to announce sweeping reforms to our current immigration system. Failing to heed the calls of Republicans in the House and Senate, the president once again circumvented the legislative process with executive action. His unilateral and temporary expansion of certain programs jeopardizes a long-term fix to our immigration system that is workable for our economy and national security. 

Some of the proposed changes will occur immediately through issued guidance while others will have to go through the federal regulatory process. ABC will continue to monitor the proposed actions and work with parties in both houses of Congress to advocate for legislative solutions that work for business owners, American workers and job seekers.

On Nov. 20, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum which discusses new policies on deferred action. Below is a brief overview:

Expands the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

  • DACA will be expanded to apply to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before January 1, 2010 (changed from June 15, 2007), and were under the age of 16. 
  • Under current law, DACA excludes individuals who were older than 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012. The age cap no longer applies.  
  • Such individuals must meet certain education and public safety criteria to be eligible for temporary relief from deportation.
  • Temporary relief from deportation and work authorization will be effective for three years instead of two.  
  • Effective 90 days after the president’s Nov. 20 announcement.
DACA was first announced by President Obama on June 15, 2012, and applies to certain individuals who came to the U.S. as children and meet certain guidelines.
Establishes a New Deferred Action Program for Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents
- An undocumented immigrant may request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years if such individual meets the following requirements:
  • has a child who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident as of Nov. 20; 
  • has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years (since before Jan. 1, 2010);
  • is physically present in the United States on Nov. 20, and when applying for deferred action with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); 
  • is not a removal priority (refer to Nov. 20 Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of  Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum); and 
  • presents no other factors that would make the approval of deferred action inappropriate.
- Individuals eligible for deferred action and work authorization must file applications and submit biometrics for USCIS to conduct background checks. The work authorization and biometric fee is $465.
- Effective 180 days after the president’s Nov. 20 announcement.