Stay Informed About the Developing Details Regarding Immigration Reform

In efforts to keep employers apprised of President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform, Monty & Ramirez LLP will provide weekly tips and updates to employers regarding this executive action.

This week we will focus on the importance of employers staying informed of the latest news on immigration reform. Remember, employers need to stay informed because employees may come to them for help and guidance. Employers should be able to refer employees to the appropriate websites and sources of information. As an employer, you should know the general outline of the executive action in order to better aid your employees. Lastly, keep in mind that just because an employee asks about the executive action and its effects does not necessarily mean that they are undocumented themselves; they could be asking for a friend or family member.

There are two key months that every employer needs to keep in mind. First, DACA Plus will launch in February 2015. Secondly, DAPA applications are expected to be released in May 2015.

To begin with, the DACA program eligibility guidelines will be expanded. Listed below is a summary of the changes and requirements for the DACA Plus program:

DACA Plus

  • The age restriction will be removed; Individuals born prior to June 15th, 1981, will be able to apply for DACA provided they meet all other guidelines.
  • Applicants will be required to prove continuous residence in the United States since January 1st, 2010, rather than the prior requirement of June 15th, 2007.
  • DACA benefits will be effective for three years rather than the current two years.
  • Applicants will need to currently be in school, be a high school graduate or GED recipient, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.
  • Applicants cannot have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and cannot otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

DAPA

Now, an undocumented individual who is living in the U.S., is the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident born on or before November 20th, 2014, and meets the requirements below will be able to apply for DAPA. Again, DAPA applications are expected to be released in May 2015.

Requirements:

  • Have continuous residence in the United States since January 1st, 2010.
  • Cannot be an enforcement priority for removal from the United States.

For the latest information, please click here to visit the USCIS website.

Although there are critics who believe President Obama’s executive action is unconstitutional, the truth is that the executive action will most likely go through. In 2013, a group of ICE agents sued the government arguing that DACA violated federal law and forced them to break the law by not arresting certain undocumented immigrants in the country. This lawsuit was dismissed and no further actions were taken.

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