Why Obama’s executive action on immigration should be a backup plan for immigrants

As the day approaches that Obama will be making an announcement on his executive action for immigration, it is important to clarify one thing the plan does not include: an immediate permanent residency status for immigrants. Though the details of the plan have not been released, the plan that Obama may announce as early as this week will be very similar to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that was released in June of 2012. This Deferred Action provides temporary protection for people who entered the country before their sixteenth birthday, were out of status as of June 12, 2013 and resided continuously in the country from 2007 to the present. What this plan provides (which we believe is going to be very similar to the upcoming Executive Order) is a temporary protection from deportation. It will provide the recipient the opportunity to stay in the United States with an Employment Authorization, ability to gain a social security number, and driver’s license.

While this sounds great from the onset, what the plan does not provide is a Legal Permanent Residency Status. What does this mean? It means that people will not have: the ability to travel outside of the U.S. (without a special permission), qualify for certain government benefits such as student financial aid, access to government subsidized medical plans, or maybe even acquire professional licenses that require a citizenship or residency status. While the impending executive action can bring relief to many, it is important to realize that this relief is temporary and it can be overridden by congress.

What this means is that for those candidates that have other methods of getting to Permanent Residency Status should see the impending executive order as a safety back up while they continue to seek their legal residency status through another avenue. No matter how complicated their case may be a legal permanent residency status will always be better than deferred action. If you would like to contact our office for an evaluation of your case, please feel free to contact us. We will give you a full assessment and provide you with the best course of action for your individual situation at: +1 (212)245-7070 or [email protected].


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