A Guide to How Obama's New Immigration Policy Will Work, And a Word of Caution

Categories: Immigration

dream.jpg
President Barack Obama announced Friday afternoon that the Department of Homeland Security will no longer attempt to deport young undocumented immigrants brought here as children, signaling a compassionate shift in an immigration policy whose hallmark was aggressive enforcement and record-shattering deportation numbers.

With a few big caveats, undocumented immigrants meeting all of these criteria may be off the hook, at least temporarily: You were brought here before you turned 16, but you're not older than 30. You are enrolled in school, have a diploma, GED certificate, or military service with an honorable discharge. You have lived continuously in the United States for five years. And you haven't been convicted of a felony, a string of misdemeanors or otherwise pose some threat.

I spoke with a couple of immigration attorneys, and apparently they're deluged with calls from clients. Some 800,000 young people may be covered by the new policy. "They're really excited," Dallas immigration attorney Lisa Schwamkrug tells Unfair Park. "Because all of the sudden, it's a glimmer a hope."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wrote in a memo to her managers that immigration laws must be enforced, but not "blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language."

While this is good news for young undocumented immigrants -- and a wily bit of politicking by a president whose immigration policies have flown in the face of campaign-trail promises -- they should read the fine print first.

The policy memo directs ICE and Customs to begin using their on-the-ground discretion immediately. Citizenship and Immigration Services is ordered to implement what is known as "deferred action" for this category of immigrants within 60 days. It's a good sign that the administration is moving quickly. But bear in mind, deferred action is exactly what it sounds like. It means the federal government isn't placing you in removal proceedings now. In fact, the memo says specifically that the deferral is good for two years before the next re-evaluation. What happens after that is anyone's guess. "The question becomes: What if the person is granted deferred action and then they turn 30," Schwamkrug asks. "Does that mean it won't be renewed?"

If it isn't, and that person doesn't have some sort of legal status, current policy is to automatically forward them to immigration court for removal proceedings. Two years-worth of work authorization may be small recompense for imminent deportation.

Perhaps the biggest wild card here is the November presidential election. Obama's policy is just that. It doesn't amount to citizenship, nor is it law, enacted by Congress. You can bet one of Mitt Romney's first acts as president would be to rescind Napolitano's memo. And then what? Young people who have lived their lives as Americans announce their presence as undocumented immigrants and become subject to removal proceedings. "You're luring people out, dangling a carrot of employment authorization in exchange for putting themselves on the radar," Schwamkrug says. "As attorneys, we'd have to lay everything out to our clients and let the clients make the choice. We can't tell them what to do. But I personally think there's cause for concern."

In other words, the undocumented American may rejoice, but must remain mindful that there's no permanence to Obama's extended hand. And in just five short months, it may be snatched away altogether.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
24 comments
aaronbanks19
aaronbanks19

It's hard knowing that such people were being forced out of the country even with such a resplendent future. I think they should have the opportunity to fight for their rights even if they need they help of <a href="http://juanlaw.com/immigration-lawyers">Dallas immigration attorneys</a>.

Austin Maria
Austin Maria

And you're a fake American, interesting.

Austin Maria
Austin Maria

You ought to have a lot of time, do you have a real job?

Hyperrrryo
Hyperrrryo

With this act, can illegals serve the military?

jhonny law
jhonny law

i have a misdeminor which i got for drinking while under age..... is it  a crime to do what most teenagers do at that age?? just being young wild and free.... ?? come ON throw me a freakn bone here..... 

New York City Regional Center
New York City Regional Center

Obama's New Immigration Policy seems very interesting but some visa applicants may concern deeply. The immigration attorneys have created some interesting rules indeed.

Chris Salmon
Chris Salmon

You guys are delusional to begin with for thinking the vast majority of these people are not already working. It is painfully easy to get a fake social security card and a state issued ID and that's all an employer needs to see before giving someone a job.  A very few are actually flying under the radar being paid under the table and not paying taxes. The majority of them are paying taxes, just not on their own number. It's not right, but that's the broken system we live in. Their only recourse is to go back to a country they never remember being in and living there with distant relatives they've never met.  It angers me seeing how some of these people are treated, when you have pure white trash leeching off of society and creating more of a burden on the people of this country. Fix the system and the rest will take care of itself. 

DrakoD20
DrakoD20

It is said that young people brought before 16yrs of age, 5yrs or longer living on the United States Continuously with a GED/High School Diploma, That are enrolled in school and have not been convicted of any felony and are clear of any charges are off the hook, But what does this mean exactly...?. Will they be issued a number in which they can now work legally...?, Can they apply for work and those that have already graduated are they able to put their diploma into practice.

Mranonymouus
Mranonymouus

 Your vote doesn't matter at all, unless you're in the electoral college.

Carlosboozer
Carlosboozer

You sound like a racist you do realize that their is hundred thousands of undocumented people from different races. why have people live here and work and not pay taxes its ridiculous. You know no matter what their is always work cause their is one thing that people care about more than laws its making money. while there are US citizens at home perfectly healthy getting goverment phones and collecting unemployment.

Rob Lew
Rob Lew

 actually, the problem is with government social programs, many otherwise able bodied workers do better NOT WORKING these jobs, for the wages offered to the illegals, who are NOT given welfare or support by THEIR OWN government.  If our nation were not so generous to unskilled US potential laborers, then the market would freeze out illegal low wage labor and the USA would reduce its social expenses.

Rob Lew
Rob Lew

 automatic citizenship at birth was ONLY DESIGNED to take care of the children born of Negro slaves that were freed and not given ALL the rights of full citizenships....but it became interpreted as ANYONE born in the USA.....simply correcting the interpretation back to what the original intent was would solve this as a future problem.   It was not a moral issue at all....merely one of keeping kids of slaves from being forceably deported to Africa...a place they had NO experience with or family living there should they get separated from their parents in the USA.

Rob Lew
Rob Lew

 The alternatives are actually MEXICO and SOUTH AMERICA stop their corruption and practices that prevent their OWN CITIZENS from earning a living in their nation of birth.  That has NOTHING to do with OPPORTUNITIES in the USA....we are the patsy in this deal, albeit we have just lain down and become their floormat.

Rob Lew
Rob Lew

 America of old had major restrictions upon ALL immigration, by ethnicity, by gender, and by nation of origin....and all had to enter under health inspections, and abide by stringent regulations to stay...many got sent back. We opened up the floodgates under the mantel of PROGRESSIVISM...and destroyed all controls and management of this out of our control population. We are NOT LEGALLY OBLIGATED nor are we MORALLY obligated to admit ANYONE. Any OPINION otherwise is just pontification and bloviation to match a liberal agenda.

Rob Lew
Rob Lew

 if they got here illegally, and are here in the deep shadows, what documents when, and where they CAME HERE in the first place.  Many have false IDs, SS numbers, and duplicate names and do not even know their REAL birthday.  Anyone who has worked in IT to automate population and payroll issues in New Mexico or other heavily Hispanic populated demographics KNOW that there are huge issues in determining REAL information about people that do not know the real information themselves, or are living in a lie anyway with others in the same predicament...and NO ONE is going to rat out the others.

Rob Lew
Rob Lew

 that is most likely WHAT will happen if they come forward under this political trap that Obama slung out there for hispanic votes.  the PARENTS and OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS of any person that comes forward personally under this scheme..merely exposes the others of his blood....and That would be unlikely for family-centric Hispanics...no matter how much they have been influenced in our schools and by peers to become typical narcissistic "me first" young adults or students. I think this scheme is at best a TRAP and merely POLITICS of the cheapest kind.  I hope the potentially affected young folks are SMARTER than the fools that voted Obama into the office for which he was totally unprepared to fulfill.

Castorenajose64
Castorenajose64

Could it be some sort of trick just to identify or locate the illegAls

Rond
Rond

 @7a70dce4926e9d3e2b75028380f82fda:disqus It's all for a good cause, though. Mavdog up above has made the unequivocal case that the problems with the economy today, specifically with the 8% unemployment rate, is that there are too many job openings and not enough HS and college grads to fill them. So, by bringing more illegal alien youth into the workforce legally to compete for those jobs without actually granting them citizenship, Obama will help solve the 8%+ unemployment rate by providing more potentially employable though now currently unemployed applicants. If the current 8% unemployed HS and college grads won't start taking those tons of jobs that are going begging, by golly Obama will see to it that someone does.

Rond
Rond

 So you're saying the problem with the current 8-something % unemployment rate is that it overwhelmingly represents those with neither a HS or a college diploma, whereas in the case of those with either a HS or a college diploma the actual case is that there are really too many jobs going unfilled and currently not enough HS and college grads to fill them.

Jd
Jd

The goal is to make them all legal. 

Celebrate Divershitty
Celebrate Divershitty

Use are going to have lots more amazing vibrant benefits of Divershitty to celebrate soon!

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...