Back in 2012, President Obama issued an executive order that put a halt to the deportation of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, known as deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). While Democrats praised the move, it was heavily criticized by Republicans as being a “side step” of the legislative process.
The 2012 executive order applied to illegal immigrants younger than 30 years old who arrived in the United States before they turned 16 years of age. Only those in the country for at least 5 continuous years without major criminal offenses were allowed to remain. They also had to have either graduated from a United States high school, hold a GED, or served in the military. While these restrictions seem quite strict, the executive order cleared the way for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States without the threat of deportation and to obtain social security numbers and valid driver’s licenses.
Those granted deferred action from the 2012 executive order were also eligible to apply for work permits that lasted for two years, but carried no renewal limits. Experts believe that the change affected approximately 800,000 illegal immigrants.
How Will A Second Executive Order On Immigration Affect Immigrants?
A similar change could be in store in the upcoming weeks. Political pundits believe that President Obama will issue another executive order on immigration once again. Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressional representatives Zoe Lofgren and Luis V. Gutierrez crafted an open letter arguing that both the Constitution and Congress provide presidents with the authority to unilaterally take executive action on immigration. The letter states that the presidents should be allowed to “parole” people into the country. It is unknown what the Congressional response would be to such an action taken by the President. It is also unknown what form this action would take and who might be eligible to file paperwork with the government if such action is taken. Additionally, Congress could pass legislation that would block such action by the President or that would affect immigrants in another way. However, immigration reform has been promised by both Republicans and Democrats alike, so immigrants should stay abreast of the news and should start looking for an immigration attorney to assist them in the event that such an order or legislation is passed.
If you or your family member(s) are concerned about your legal status in the United States, Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo, Texas, is here to help. We can provide valuable counsel and assist you through the paperwork process. Don't hesitate to reach out to us for assistance.