Initially reported by Fox News, but subsequently confirmed by the New York Times, a White House memo describing the President’s proposed administrative immigration relief has leaked. The memo is said to describe ten separate actions. Between the two reports, it’s possible to determine eight of them:
- One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away. That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 to 4.5 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.
- Extending protections to more undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, and to their parents, could affect an additional one million or more if they are included in the final plan that the president announces.
- Obama’s actions will also expand opportunities for immigrants who have high-tech skills, making about 500,000 visas available.
- Shift extra security resources to the nation’s southern border,
- Revamp a controversial immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities,Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents.
- Provide clearer guidance to the agencies that enforce immigration laws about who should be a low priority for deportation, especially those with strong family ties and no serious criminal history. A new enforcement memorandum, which will direct the actions of Border Patrol agents and judges at the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and other federal law enforcement and judicial agencies, will make clear that deportations should still proceed for convicted criminals, foreigners who pose national security risks and recent border crossers, officials said.
- Increase pay for ICE employees
- DHS also is planning to “promote” the new naturalization process by giving a 50 percent discount on the first 10,000 applicants who come forward, with the exception of those who have income levels above 200 percent of the poverty level.
What will likely happen?
The most likely result for employment based immigrants will be all employment based visa preference categories, for all countries, becoming “current” immediately. If, as reported, this proposal injects a half million new visas into the EB quota, the number of available visas will be larger than the current backlog – much larger!The head of the State Department’s Visa Office has already offered his opinion on this matter. He believes that all visa categories will become “current” immediately and remain that way for many years into the future.Prospective employment based immigrants with approved labor certifications or approved I-140 petitions will become eligible to apply for green cards immediately. Others, with labor certifications in process will become eligible to apply as soon as their PERMs are approved.
For those who have adjustment of status applications pending, their applications will become eligible to be approved immediately. As a practical matter, it is going to take the USCIS some time to recall all of those cases from archives and process them to completion, so don’t expect to receive an approval notice the day after the President’s announcement.
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