AUTHOR:  Robert Neale.

President Obama announced today that he will address the nation on Thursday evening, November 20, 2014, to announce the executive actions he will be taking on immigration reform. A follow up speech is scheduled for Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada, to provide additional details regarding his plan.

Advocates for immigration reform have recommended a series of actions that the President could take without Congressional approval.  Although specific details are not yet known, supporters of the President’s actions have proposed, among other things, the following:

  1. Relief from deportation to undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or of permanent legal residents. It is not yet clear which parents of citizens or permanent residents would be included.
  2. Reducing the current green card backlogs and overall wait time for both employment- and family-based green card categories by not counting the principal immigrant’s derivatives against the annual visa quota.
  3. Refining guidance for which immigrants should be prosecuted and deported if they are apprehended by authorities.
  4. Strengthening enforcement and security along the Southwest border.
  5. Reallocating more than 200,000 immigrant visa quota numbers that went unused during quota years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  6. Extending eligibility for adjustment to permanent resident status to certain individuals who have been granted Temporary Protected Status.

President Obama has stated that his actions are in response to Congress’ failure to reach agreement on immigration reform. The Senate approved a proposal last year, but the House has refused to act. Republicans are opposed to President Obama’s likely unilateral actions, with some congressional members threatening to pursue a government shutdown or other measures if President Obama unilaterally acts on immigration through executive order and not through the legislative process.

Jackson Lewis is closely monitoring these new developments regarding the availability of immigration benefits, and will provide any new information as it arises.