Just two hours ahead of President Obama's address to the nation, details about his executive action and plans to rewrite immigration law have been released by the White House to the National Immigration Youth Alliance, which has posted a document with specifics. Bolding is mine.
Here are the 5 things that you should know about the President’s initiatives impacting
undocumented immigrants in the US:
1. You must meet strict requirements to qualify for relief from deportation
Eligible immigrants will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization if they come forward and pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, pay a fee, and show that they are:
A parent of US citizens or lawful permanent residents on the date of the announcement, are not enforcement priorities and have been in the US since January 1, 2010, or
An individual who arrived in the US before turning 16 years old and before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today
Additionally, we are reducing the time that families are separated while obtaining their green cards.
Undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents or sons or daughters of US citizens can apply to get a waiver if a visa is available.
2. You Cannot Apply for Several Months
The U.S. government– and specifically USCIS - will not begin accepting applications until early 2015. While the government is not accepting applications now, if you believe you are eligible for one or more of the initiatives, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish your identity, relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident and show that you have continuously lived in the US for 5 years or more.
3. Recent Border Crossers will be a Priority for Deportation
You must have been in the US for at least 5 years to qualify for these programs. These executive actions will not benefit immigrants who recently crossed the border (defined as those who entered the country after January 1, 2014), who may cross the border in the future, or who help those who cross in the future, but rather immigrants who have been living in the United States for years. The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally today will be caught and then sent back
4. If you commit fraud you will not qualify
USCIS will review each case very carefully. As with other immigration requests, knowingly misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts will subject applicants to criminal prosecution and possible removal from the United States.
5. Beware of Immigration Scams
Many people offer help with immigration services. Unfortunately, not all are authorized to do so. While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off.
It should be noted that Green Cards allow individuals to pursue citizenship and voting rights. A Green Card also makes them eligible for a number of government welfare programs. Under this action work permits will be issued to five million people living in the U.S. illegally. Section number three is promising, so long as the federal government allows ICE agents to do their jobs, however, there is no way to prove who has "recently" crossed the border.
In an excerpt released of Obama's speech, it is clear the President will repeatedly stress his action is "lawful" and justified through the actions of previous presidents. He will also argue his executive action holds illegal immigrants "accountable."
Obama speech excerpt: pic.twitter.com/vNRmJXwLPl— Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) November 20, 2014
This post has been updated.