SILVER SPRING, MD –-(ENEWSPF)–November 20, 2014. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) welcomes President Obama’s announcement tonight that the administration will act to address various problems plaguing our broken immigration system. The proposed administrative relief will benefit nearly five million immigrants who have lived in the shadows of our society for years. It will help them contribute more effectively to the betterment of their families, local communities, and the nation.
New policies outlined in memos issued by the White House include the following relief:
Deferred action for the parents (DAP) of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident alien children. To qualify for DAP, the parent must have been physically present in the United States since January 1, 2010, have not committed a felony or significant misdemeanor, and pay taxes. The age or marital status of the U.S. citizen child will not be a factor in the parent’s eligibility. Deferred action affords the parent eligibility for employment authorization and protection from deportation for three years. This program will begin accepting applications in approximately 180 days.
Deferred action for children who entered the United States before they turned 16 and who entered on or before January 1, 2010. The age of the child at the time of applying for the benefit will not be a factor in determining eligibility. This relief expands upon the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was implemented by this administration over two years ago and provides eligibility for employment authorization and protection from deportation for three years. This program will begin accepting applications in approximately 90 days.
An expansion of the provisional waiver program that allows the spouse and some children of a U.S. citizen to apply for a waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility before they leave the country to attend their consular interview. This would expand the program to include those who are related to a lawful permanent resident.
Eligibility for advance parole to those who are currently here in temporary status. This would include the parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident children who are granted benefits under the DAP program.
A Visa Modernization committee that will be formed to examine ways to improve and enhance the current system of obtaining lawful permanent resident status.
Discontinued use of the controversial Secure Communities and a re-prioritization of enforcement efforts to target suspected terrorists, convicted felons, and those who recently entered the country illegally.
“The administration’s decision will improve the lives of millions of immigrants who are already here, building communities and supporting families,” explains Jeanne M. Atkinson, executive director of CLINIC. “However, administrative relief is no substitute for legislative reform. We need a permanent fix to the immigration system that can only be achieved through bipartisan Congressional action. Our network has been gearing up to meet this huge need with increased trainings, program management support for sustainability, and additional funds to our network offices whenever possible. We will be ready.”
In light of administrative remedies put forth tonight, CLINIC warns against the threat of the unauthorized practice of law by unqualified practitioners. Only attorneys or Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representatives should be assisting immigrants with their applications for relief.
As the nation’s largest network of nonprofit immigration programs – over 260 organizations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – CLINIC’s affiliates stand ready to assist immigrants eligible for relief with reliable, high quality legal services.
CLINIC advocates for humane and just immigration policy. Visit https://cliniclegal.org/adminrelief in the coming days for more details on the announcement.