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Despite news reports to the contrary, President Obama did not issue an Executive Order on immigration last week.  There is no one order or document for you to read.  Instead, he announced “executive action.”

While this phrase can have different meanings, in this case, it means that he directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to evaluate current practices and implement appropriate changes.  The DHS has a clear explanation of the new programs, along with links to the official November 20,2014 memos to federal officials at Fixing Our Broken Immigration System Through Executive Action – Key Facts.

Below are some key provisions and their implementation dates:

1. Strengthen Border Security. Three joint task forces will be formed. “Within 90 days of [the] commissioning of these Joint Task Forces, [appropriate administrators] are directed to realign personnel and stand up headquarters capabilities within each Joint Task Force.”

2. Revise Removal Priorities. Effective January 5, 2015.

3. End Secure Communities and Replace it with New Priority Enforcement Program.  Timetable is not specified.

4. Personnel Reform for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers. “December 2014 completion of job series classification and premium pay system review; December 2014 submission of analysis and recommendations to the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget; January 2015 final recommended personnel reforms for ICE ERO officers; and February 2015 announcement of recommended personnel reforms and submittal of required statutory and resource proposals to Congress. ”

5. Expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.   “USCIS should begin accepting applications under the new criteria from applicants no later than ninety (90) days from the date of this announcement.”

6. Extend Deferred Action to Parents of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. “USCIS should begin accepting applications from eligible applicants no later than one hundred and eighty (180) days after the date of this announcement.”

7. Expand Provisional Waivers to Spouses and Children of Lawful Permanent Residents.  Directs DHS to amend its regulation. Timetable is not given.

8. Promote the Naturalization Process. “USCIS should begin accepting credit cards for the payment of the naturalization fee as soon as practicable and no later than the end of 2015.”

9.  Support High-Skilled Business and Workers. Requires development and enactment of new regulations. Timetable is not given.


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