Friday, January 13, 2017

Immigration: 2 Things to Do Before the New Administration Takes Office

{3:36 minutes to read} What is going to happen with regard to immigration when the new administration takes office on January 20th? The simple answer is, we don’t know. There are 2 things I’m recommending that people do ASAP.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
There's a bill pending in the Senate, which would extend DACA. DACA is the Obama Executive Order that provides employment authorization for individuals who came to the U.S. under the age of 16, have lived here since June of 2007, and graduated or are attending school in this country.
Will that continue into the next administration? Who knows.

What do people do who are eligible for DACA, or have DACA? Should they renew it or not?

Our advice is to renew DACA as soon as possible if you are eligible. We see 2 possibilities:

  1. Trump cancels the DACA Executive Order which will stop everything in its tracks.
  2. Trump will allow the Order to go forward for those who have filed before he comes into office.

Already filed? What do you have to lose? The worst that can happen is the loss of the filing fee. The best could be a 2-year extension of your work authorization/card.

Filing for a new application at this time is not advised without speaking to an immigration attorney.
Family Based Petition (Form I-130)
U.S. immigration law provides that certain individuals who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents can sponsor close family members. Form I-130 allows the sponsor to establish the relationship to certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States.
If you are in a situation where you planned to file a Form I-130 on behalf of a relative, we recommend you do that now. The reason is that there is a regulation currently in effect that allows people who have these family ties to apply for a waiver of the 10-year bar. The 10-year bar is a rule that says if you have to leave the U.S. in order to obtain your green card, you cannot come back for 10 years. The regulation allows people to apply for a waiver of that 10-year bar while they are still in the United States.
We don’t know when or if the Trump administration will move to amend that regulation. Amending a regulation is not at all the same thing as removing an executive order. A president can cancel an Executive Order on Day 1, but a regulation requires the government to go through procedures. Getting your Form I-130 filed now, and trying to push these things through before the government has a chance to amend the regulation, can be critical.
Again, we have no idea what the new president is going to do. He may never amend the regulation, but obviously, the safe thing is to take advantage of it now if you can.
Mitchell C. Zwaik
Zwaik, Gilbert & Associates, P.C.

5014 Express Drive South
Ronkonkoma, NY  11779

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