Washington – President Obama announced a new policy on Friday, thus making sweeping changes to the immigration landscape nationwide. Under the new policy, effective immediately, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16 will now be able to obtain work permits and they will be safeguarded from deportation proceedings.
Speaking to reporters in the White House Rose Garden Friday afternoon, President Obama said that changes to the immigration system would make changes "more efficient, more fair and more just." Obama's policy directive quickly received criticism from Republicans saying that Mr. Obama was overstepping his powers in an end run around Congress. Obama said that he was acting "in the absence of any immigration action from Congress to fix our broken immigration system."
The policy is effective immediately and will apply to immigrants who are presently younger than 30 years of age and who have been in America prior to turning 16 years of age. Plus, they must have lived in the United States for at least five years or longer. The conditions also include that they have no criminal record, earned a high school diploma, be in school or they must have served in the U.S. military.
According to officials, the younger immigrants will gain the ability to obtain a two-year "deferred action" which will effectively remove the threat of being deported for up to two years, with repeated extensions. According to Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, "This is not immunity, it is not amnesty, it is an exercise of discretion."
Under the new policy, those who are approved for deferrals will be able to apply for work permits, which will be handled on a case-by-case basis. The officials estimate the new policy will cover approximately 800,000 young immigrants.
As the founding attorney of The Law Office of Tony E. Parada, I make it my job to stay abreast of any and all changes in immigration law, as well as any policy changes. A significant percentage of my time and practice is focused on deportation defense and helping my clients live and work in the U.S. I can provide both English and Spanish speaking services to my immigration clients, and I am here to lend my full legal support.