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President Obama, by executive order, on June 15, 2012 granted deferred action to certain undocumented aliens which will cause his administration to stop deporting certain undocumented aliens.
Under the President’s grant of deferred action undocumented aliens will not be deported by Homeland Security if the alien meets the following requirements: is under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012, entered the United States before turning 16; continuously resided in the U.S. for at least 5 years prior to June 15, 2012 and was present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012; is currently in school, is a high school graduate or has a GED degree or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces. If the alien has been convicted of a felony (or a significant misdemeanor offense or three or more non significant misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety) then the alien will not be eligible. (This area is grey and we will need to see how it is interpreted).
The order is not an act of Congress and it can be changed or revoked by a future president.
In the New York Times article: “U.S. to Stop Deporting Some Immigrants“, the authors quote President Obama as follows: “Now let’s be clear: this is not an amnesty”. “This is not a path to citizenship. It is not a permanent fix.”
The order also does not grant anyone the ability to obtain a green card. However, I believe it is a big step in laying the foundation for a future amnesty for a larger portion of those who are here without documentation. If you are interested in this subject please read our blog post: “Hope for Undocumented Aliens Wanting to Obtain Their Green Cards“.
The New York times article goes on to explain that “For immigrants who come forward and qualify, Homeland Security authorities will use prosecutorial discretion to grant deferred action, a reprieve that will be valid for two years and will have to be renewed. Under current law, that status allows immigrants to apply for work permits.”
“Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano instructed all enforcement agents to “immediately exercise their discretion on an individual basis, in order to prevent low-priority individuals from being placed into removal proceedings.””
If you are here without documentation your best bet is to contact an experienced immigration attorney and review your situation before you take any action. Remember if you are here without legal status and you leave the United States, depending on how long you have been in the United States, you will not be able to return to the United States for 3 or 10 years (unless you are able to obtain a waiver–these are very difficult to get). Therefore, again, make sure you review your situation with an immigration attorney.
The information provided on this site is not legal advice but general information only. Laws can and do change and additional laws may apply in your case. Contrary to what your friends tell you every immigration case is different. Please contact our office or the office of another immigration attorney to review your matter prior to filing any documentation with USCIS
Lawrence Gruner is a green card attorney daly city and daly city green card lawyer with almost 20 years of experience handling immigration cases. He has office locations throughout northern California. His office handles immigration cases throughout California (including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, San Diego and Sacramento) the United States and the World. You may reach us from anywhere in the world toll free at 888-801-6558 . You may also email us your questions. Attorney Gruner would be happy to review your situation and all of your options. He can help you come up with a plan for your Immigration case. His office handles green card cases (both family based green cards and business based green cards) , K1 fiance visa cases, E1-E2 investor cases, H1b cases and marriage visa (including K3) cases.