Overview of Executive Actions on Immigration Reform
Although Congress is ultimately in control of legislating new law, the executive branch of the US Government has authority to change certain administrative rules applicable to the United States Citizenship and Immigrant Service. This page will provide a basic overview of new options that have been or may be introduced in the future and links to a more detailed overview of these various options. The categories include Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), I-601A hardship waivers, and H4 Employment Authorization.
Click on any of the topics on the right to read a more detailed overview and to find additional articles, resources, case studies and more.
Immigration Reform Topics:
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Although the DREAM Act, which was to allow those who entered the United States as children without inspection to obtain permanent residence has not passed, DACA allows those who are in such a scenario to obtain protection from removal proceedings and employment authorization to a temporary period of time. Ongoing extensions are also permissible. One may request DACA if they were under 31 as of June 15, 2012, arrived in the US before age 16, continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007, and are currently in school or graduated from a high school or GED program, and had not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors.
- Deferred Action for Parental Accountability: On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced the DAPA program (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability). There are an anticipated four million undocumented parents of US Citizens and Green Card holders who will obtain work permits under this somewhat controversial program. It will be granted to those who were in the US since and before 2010, and have children who are US Citizens/Green Card holders, born before November 20, 2014.
- I-601A: The I-601A program allows those who need to obtain a visa abroad but can not risk it due to triggering a 10 year bar (based on overstaying after illegal admission for over one year) to apply for a waiver to the bar before leaving the US. The waiver is granted based on extreme hardship to a US Citizen relative.
- H4 Employment Authorization: This is only a proposed rule. The change proposed by DHS would allow H-4 spouses to apply for an employment authorization document if the H-1B worker is the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or has been granted an extension of H-1B status under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21). Such an extension can be granted if–prior to reaching the end of the 6th year in H-1B status–365 days have passed since the filing of a labor certification application or of an I-140 but the worker is still waiting for permanent residence.