President Obama Tackles Temporary Immigration Reform

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced that he is implementing new temporary immigration reform on many levels, from business visa reform to temporary discretionary status for certain qualifying individuals living in the United States without status. The President’s action is executive, meaning that it has the full force of law under the powers vested to the President through the U.S. Constitution. However, because this reform did not pass through Congress to become law, it is temporary action subject to the discretion of a future president. The new actions have not yet taken effect, and have various implementation timelines.

The main points of President Obama’s executive order are the following:

  1. Creating “Deferred Action for Parental Accountability” (DAPA): This will grant temporary status to individuals who have U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident children, if the individual has lived continuously in the United States since 1-1-2010 and meets additional requirements.
  2. Expanding “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA): This will grant temporary status to individuals of any age who have been living continuously in the United States since 1-1-2010 and who meet certain additional requirements, including educational or military service.
  3. Expanding employment based opportunities for certain high skilled workers: This is intended to benefit U.S. businesses and workers by growing the economy and will include modernizing the employment-based immigrant visa system, promoting research and development in the United States, increasing opportunities for workers to change from one U.S. job to a “similarly situated” U.S. job, expand opportunities for spouses of certain H-1B visa holders to work in the United States, reforming the “Optional Practical Training” for foreign student and graduates from U.S. universities, bringing more consistency to the L-1 Visa Program, and working with the U.S. Department of Labor to modernize the employment-based green card system.
  4. Expanding Certain Family-Based Immigrant Visa Programs: With the goal of family unification, the President is expanding opportunities for family members to qualify for legal permanent resident status from eligible family members. This includes expanding the “Provisional Waiver Program” and reviewing enforcement priorities for deportation.

At PETRELLA BROWN, we are equipped and ready to meet your immigration needs. Please call us today at: 248.223.9883, e-mail us at: or visit our website at: We look forward to hearing from you!

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