3 Year DACA Work Card? You gotta give it back….

by W. John Vandenberg

Because of the quirks of USCIS administration, some DACA recipients received a 3 year work card because of President Obama’s Executive Action announcement.  However, it seems that that gift just got a massive recall.

frustrated man

USCIS is sending letters to everyone who got the three year card.  Here is a sample 3 year daca return letter.   You must return your 3 year work card by July 17, 2015.*    You must also return the approval notices.  The reason for the recall is the lawsuit filed to stop President Obama’s Executive Action in Texas.

I guess the good news is that USCIS is happy to give you a normal two year card.

But try to stay positive, folks.  Perhaps some of you have been in deportation proceedings.  Remember that government attorney, who fought to get you deported?  Well, government attorneys are now fighting in that Texas courtroom for your right to stay and get a three year DACA work card after all.  And if you’re a parent of U.S. citizen children, they are fighting for the Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA“) program.  And a lot of other great ideas from President Obama’s Executive Action.  I personally am happy that my colleagues across the aisle are fighting for immigrants — it’s a nice change, and I genuinely wish them success. At least in this case!

* However, if your EAD card was issued on or before February 16, 2015, then you can keep it in your pocket. Judge Hanen only issued the Injunction on that date.  Be sure to check!

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Executive Action: Good for Everyone

This morning, the Philadelphia Inquirer had a great article about the Executive Action announced by President.  It is important to remember that this Executive Action is good for everyone.

Think of the benefits to all, both immigrant and native born, including:

– Deferred Action adults will have work cards.  This means they can get Social Security Cards, and pay into the Social Security fund that helps many elderly Americans pay their rent and put food on the table.  Social Security already was receiving $13 billion a year from undocumented workers; this new Executive Action will be a significant boost.

– Deferred Action adults are going to be paying taxes.  Think about the numbers: if the Administration is right, there are going to be more than 4+ million new taxpayers; that sure could fix a lot of bridges, and give the Head Start and other programs a much-needed boost.

– Road safety.  So, once these Deferred Action adults obtain Social Security Cards and Employment Authorization Cards, in most states they will be eligible for Drivers Licenses.  We have already had some discussion on this with the original DACA program; most states allow them to obtain drivers licenses.  That is a good thing!  Because legal drivers can get insurance.  Makes me feel safer already.

– It helps ICE catch the bad guys, and leave the good guys alone.  We all know that law enforcement officers have discretion.  Ever got a warning instead of a ticket?  Police officers decide every day who to arrest, and who to let walk free.  The new Executive Order clarifies that ICE is supposed to focus on the terrorists, the criminals, and the recent border crossers.  And not the immigrants who are hard-working and law-abiding.  The background checks required by the Deferred Action program will also allow ICE to ensure that immigrants here are good folks.  It ensures that our communities are safer in every way.

– Money and investment.  We all benefit when entrepreneurs and high-tech industries make the United States their home. This new Executive Action is going to make it easier for investors to come here and invest, and build their technology in the USA.  This keeps our country competitive on the world market.

Every one of these benefits is important to Americans, whether new, native, or en route.  We can bicker about the politics both pro and con.  But at the end of the day, we believe this Executive Action is a net plus for the United States!

Obama’s Executive Action: What Does the Future Hold?

Wow! What a night! In case you missed it, you can read the President’s announcement here Transcript of President Obama Speech on November 20, 2014.

What does it mean for all of the immigrants in the United States? Certainly, we and a lot of other attorneys and immigrants — and also the USCIS — is trying to determine that exactly. The bad news is that we don’t know everything just yet. And the good news is that we don’t know everything yet. I’ll speak more about that later.

But in the meantime, this is what we have:

– Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”): there is now no age cap; as long as the person came to the USA before they turned 16, and before January 1, 2010, they are eligible. So if you came as a child in 1993, like journalist and immigrant activist Jose Antonio Vargas, then you are eligible for DACA (I am sure his attorneys are preparing to terminate his removal proceedings about now!).  This should expand the program. And speaking of expanding the program, if your application is now pending or you haven’t filed yet, it will be approved for 3 years, not two.  Very good news for a lot of young people who definitely deserve it.

– There are a lot of immigrants who come into my office who have U.S. citizen children, and I tell them I can’t help them under the law. But last night changed my answer! So, for immigrants who have been in the United States since January 1, 2010, and have U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident children, they get Deferred Action now, too.

– More immigrants are going to be eligible for the I-601A Provisional Waivers. Just Wednesday I spoke with a young DACA recipient whose mother isn’t a citizen but has a greencard. This young man may very well be able to get status now through his mother. And until he does, he is living, working, and traveling here, thanks to DACA.

– It looks like good news for immigrant investors. It appears that USCIS will make new rules for Entrepreneurs coming to the United States to invest. This includes entrepreneurs who have managed to obtain investment in the United States, or can demonstrate their technology is going to be a job-creator.

– The fees for the N-400 Application for Naturalization are probably going to go down, and greencard holders will be able to pay with a credit card. This is a win, to get greencard holders on the road to citizenship.

So, this is what we have so far, but it seems that every hour we are receiving something new from the Department of Homeland Security, helping understand just how far this Executive Action reaches. But I wanted to end this post with some encouragement, as well as caution.

The caution is that, with the exception of DACA recipients, NONE of the above changes have occurred yet. That means there is no place to apply. No form to fill out. And NOBODY should be paying for any services until it’s understand how this is going to work. Please everyone, protect yourselves and your loved ones from fraud. Don’t take advice from a non-attorney, and frankly I don’t think it’s a good idea to take immigration advice from anyone other than the best immigration attorney you can find.

The good news is that even though a lot of immigrants are not covered by this Executive Action directly, they are covered indirectly. And by that I mean that the President has now ordered ICE to focus on the terrorists, the criminals, and the recent border crossers. If you or your immigrant loved one isn’t a terrorist, a criminal, or a recent border crosser, you have little to fear as far as getting detained by ICE. That is good news, because it means that everyday, hardworking people are not going to get detained and deported; it’s also good news because the criminals and terrorists will get deported. Sounds like a win-win for all.

Finally, above I mentioned that we don’t know everything yet about this new Executive Action, and we believe that is a good thing. Because the more gray areas there are, the more we can advocate for our clients. Remember that back in 1986, Congress passed a new immigration law that gave millions of undocumented immigrants a chance to remain in the United States; unfortunately, that law didn’t cover the family members of the immigrants. So in 1990, George H.W. Bush used Executive Action to include family members in that law. So no matter what we have at this time, remember that it can always get better as we work out the details.

Stay tuned for more!

Good news for a Friday

Change, my friends, is a good thing.  Nice to see that Americans favor citizenship for undocumented immigrants.   http://bit.ly/XEHb0V . Here’s is a soundtrack for the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbO2_077ixs . Have a happy and blessed Friday!