This is not ideal. President Obama's announcement made today represents a necessary act in the face of Congress' failure to govern. Everyone knows that the House has enough GOP votes to pass the Senate version of CIR passed last year. Speaker Boehner, pressured by the hard right, has simply invoked the Hastert Rule which says that unless the majority of the majority (in this case, the GOP) want the bill to come to a vote, he will not permit a vote on the bill. Obviously, Boehner and his allies are concerned that the Bill, God forbid, will pass, so they insure that it will not pass, by not putting it on the floor. That's a disgrace. That's a failure of the American Democratic system. It also provides a poor precedent for the future. Hopefully, the Democrats, when a Republican is in the White House will not be so obstructionist. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, the Department of Homeland Security, like any other law enforcement agency, can choose who to "prosecute" and those who they choose not to prosecute. In other words, Obama has made an executive decision, because nobody else seems to want to make the hard decisions, to grant temporary work permits to a relatively small class of people. The outline of the plan is as follows:
1. DACA will be extended to everyone (where formerly the age cap was at 31). The applicant must still show, however, that they entered the US before the age of sixteen regardless of how old they are today or on the original operating date of June 2012.
2. DACA work permits will be extended to three years from two years.
3. The new date of entry whereby each DACA applicant must have been in the US is changed from 6/15/2007 to1/1/2010.
The "fun" does not stop with the kids. A "DACA" program of sorts will be implemented for adults of US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident children. The elements of this program are as follows:
1. the Applicant must have, as of 11/20/2014, a child who is a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident,
2. have continuously resided in the US since before 1/1/2010.
3. is physically present in the US on 11/20/2014 AND at the time of application for deferred action.
4. must have no lawful status on the date of this memorandum
5. are not an enforcement priority (currently it is not entirely known what the parameters of this element are, however, it will most certainly cover, terrorists, convicted felons, convicted gang members, people convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors, and those who have failed to leave under a removal order or returned after removal)
6. And, otherwise merit a positive exercise of discretion. In other words, even if all of the above elements are satisfied, Immigration will need to "feel" right about giving deferred action to the Applicant before approving the Applicant's case.
DHS Secretary Johnson has ordered USCIS to begin accepting applications no later than 180 days from 11/20/2014 (or 5/19/2015 at the latest). The process looks like that it may closely mirror the current DACA application process, however, that still remains to be seen.
For those who qualify, seek experienced and qualified immigration legal advice. For those who do not know whether they qualify, seek experienced and qualified immigration legal advice. While this is far from a perfect or ideal sitiuation, it is the best that we have, at least until Congress can stop obstructing and start governing.