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Obama Announces Details on Immigration Executive Action

On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced an Executive Action plan to overhaul and attempt to reform the broken U.S. immigration system. His plans include:

Extending the validity period on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications from two years to three years

Announcing a new plan called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). Under DAPA, undocumented parents of American citizens or permanent residents (green card holders) residing in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 may not be deported and may be granted work authorization.

Obama also announced plans to help STEM students, business owners, foreign entrepreneurs, and high skilled workers. This includes:

Allocate immigrant visas (green cards) to ensure that all visas are timely issued to eligible applicants when there is sufficient demand for such visas
Make the Visa Bulletin more comprehensive and easier to understand
Clarify a non-immigrant work visa holder’s ability to port and transfer jobs with a pending adjustment of status applications
Clarify the National Interest Waiver standard for foreign investors, researchers and start-up enterprises to benefit the U.S. economy
Grant Advance Parole to eligible investors, researchers and start-up founders who have been awarded substantial U.S. investor funding or who hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting-edge research
Grant work authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B visa holders with pending adjustment of status applications
Expand the use of optional practical training (OPT) for foreign F-1 or M-1 students
Clarify the meaning of “specialized knowledge” under the L-1 Visa
Allow naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee

Read more about Obama’s Immigration Reform Executive Action.