FBCL Applauds Broad Immigration Changes by Executive Order

Fallon Bixby Cheng and Lee applaud’s President Obama’s decision to use his authority to make changes in our broken immigration system.   On November 20th, President Obama announced his plan to use executive authority to improve parts of the U.S. immigration system.   The President’s plan will provide protection from deportation and work authorization to parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children who have been in the United States for more than 5 years.  It will also modernize and improve immigration programs to grow our economy and create jobs.  Although these changes are limited, they are a temporary fix until Congress is able to pass a more comprehensive immigration reform.

Employers and Employees will benefit from the President’s plan in the following ways:

  • Optical Practical Training (OPT) Expanded:   Students that graduate with a degree in a STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are currently eligible for up to 17 months of OPT.  The president announced plans to extend the length of OPT for STEM graduates.
  • Employment Authorization for spouses of H-1B workers:  Spouses of H-1B workers who are in H-4 status will be allowed to apply for work permits.
  • Employment and Travel Authorization with Approved I-140:  Individuals with an approved employment-based immigrant petition (I-140) whose priority date is not current will be eligible to apply for permission to travel abroad and work authorization.

Those currently in the U.S. without documentation will benefit from the President’s plan in the following ways:

  • Protection from Deportation for more “Dreamers” (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Expanded):  Individuals born before June 15, 1981 are now protected from deportation and eligible for work authorization.  They must have entered the country before age 16 and be able to demonstrate continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010.  Deferred action and work authorization under DACA will be authorized for three years instead of two.
  • Protection from Deportation for Parents of U.S. Citizens:  Parents of U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident children may also apply for temporary protection and work authorization provided they can demonstrate continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010.  They must also pass criminal background check and pay any back taxes they may owe.  Deferred action and work authorization under DAP will be authorized for three years.  Parents of DACA recipients and long-term residents who do not have children are not eligible for deferred action.
  • Authorization to Apply for a Pardon while remaining in the US :  I-601(a) hardship waivers were previously only available to spouses and children of US citizens.  The waivers will now be available to spouses and children of legal permanent residents.

USCIS will accept applications sometime in 2015 .

As the White House releases additional details of the P resident’s plans, we will post updates as they become available.  Important Warning: Foreign Nationals are often the target of fraud by scammers posing as lawyers or individuals demanding excessive upfront fees and promising results than are not in compliance with the law.  Be sure to contact a licensed attorney who regularly practices immigration law to ensure you receive the correct legal advice.  

Should you have any questions, please call our office at 415-781-2338 or contact us at info@fbcl-visa.com to schedule an appointment.