FAQ: President Obama’s New Immigration Policy

obama-new-immigration-policy-niren-associatesAs many as 1.7 million young immigrants without documentation who came to the US as children can now apply for work permits and two-year deportation deferrals thanks to an executive order issued by President Barack Obama in June, 2012.  There are, however, some misconceptions about this new policy.  Below are answers to five of the most frequently asked questions about President Obama’s recent executive order.

1) Does the New Policy Grant Immunity or a Shortcut to Citizenship?

No, President Obama’s order only gives young immigrants the chance to live and work in the US with the guarantee that they will not be deported for two years.  Critics, however, argue that the new policy grants unfair amnesty to illegal aliens and adds strain to an already overburdened job market.

2) What Are the Criteria for Eligibility?

The basic criteria for eligibility include:

  • Arriving in the US before the age of 16.
  • Being currently under 30 years of age.
  • Continuous residence in the US for at least 5 years.
  • Being a current student, a high school graduate, a member of the military or a veteran.
  • Having a clear criminal record with no felonies or major misdemeanors.

3) What Are the Risks of Applying for a Deportation Deferral Under This New Policy?

Many young immigrants are hesitant to take this offer for fear that it will bring attention to their families.  Obama administration officials in the Department of Homeland Security, however, promise that all information in deferral applications is confidential and will not be used to target other illegal immigrants.  This is not to say that filing an application is risk-free. Attorneys who specialize in immigration law encourage young people to learn the facts before applying for deferrals.  Not only does this new policy require renewal in two years, but it is also an executive order rather than a law.  This means that if President Obama is not reelected, the new president, Mitt Romney, could revoke the order on his own.

4) How Much Does it Cost to Apply?

There is a $465 fee for each application.  The money covers the required background checks, administrative costs and document processing fees.

5) What Are the Politics of This Policy?

The plight of undocumented immigrants, especially young undocumented immigrants, is a source of concern to many members of the Hispanic community.  In the current presidential election, the Latino vote is very important to both President Obama and Governor Romney, especially in hotly contested battleground states like Nevada and Florida.

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