As a result of President Obama’s executive order late last year, roughly 4 million undocumented immigrants will remain in the US and be eligible to seek legal employment. The future of this action is shrouded in uncertainty, however, since congressional Republicans vehemently oppose the initiative. Many state leaders have also pledged to block the legislation in federal court. The resulting clash may lead to yet another government shutdown.
Estimates show that the Department of Homeland Security will run out of funding on February 27th, due to budgetary insufficiency. Congress is attempting to pass a new funding bill which will extend the agency’s funding past the upcoming deadline, but there is a great deal of gridlock in Congress as it relates to Obama’s immigration reform.
The first stage of Obama’s plan is an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was slated to start Wednesday. It covers immigrants that entered the US as infants. If the immigrant has graduated from a high school in the US and has no criminal record, he/she may apply for a United States work permit.
Currently, there are over 600,000 people that are eligible for this protection. Initially, the program only applied to immigrants that are under the age of 31. That age cap was extended in December. With the extension, an additional 300,000 people will be eligible for work permits. Another part of the legislation will stave off deportation for three years, which applies to the undocumented parents of legal permanent residents and United States citizens. This program will most likely begin in May.
Undocumented residents from across the nation are searching through their old high school records and transcripts, preparing their applications. “I will no longer have to leave home every morning wondering whether I’ll make it back or not,” said Adriana Salas, 23. “I want to be able to work legally and give my family a better life. In my heart, I am already a U.S. citizen,” added the young immigrant, who has aspirations of becoming a physician.
Applicants for the controversial DACA program must pay a $465 application fee in order to be considered. A bill was passed in January which now makes it illegal for the Department of Homeland Security to use this revenue to enforce Obama’s immigration reform. Republican’s in the House of Representatives view Obama’s executive action as a power grab, as well as an abuse of executive authority.
If you or someone you know would like legal counsel regarding the DACA program or need assistance on another type of immigration issue, please contact the immigration attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website here or calling us today at 512-215-5225