President Obama’s New Immigration Policy

The country was buzzing last week when President Barack Obama announced that he was enacting an executive order to give young illegal immigrants some reprieve from their fear of deportation.  Some of the buzz was merely because the president enacting a policy through an executive order which is fairly uncommon. An executive order is when the president creates a law and puts it into effect without receiving Congressional approval by passing a bill through the House of Representatives and the Senate.

While President Obama stated that, “This is not a path to citizenship,” the policy would allow some illegal immigrants the opportunity to apply for a work permit without the fear of deportation for two years. Eligibility criteria for this new policy include the following:

  • Must be under 30 years of age.
  • Must be able to prove that they were younger than 16 years old when they arrived in the United States.
  • Must have lived in U.S. for at least 5 years.
  • Must be in school or have graduate from high school or obtained a GED or have been honorably discharged from the military or Coast Guard
  • Cannot have a felony or significant criminal record, or be a threat to public safety or national security.

Some lawmakers are proposing bills to have the President’s order overturned, but in the meantime, if you are an employer in Arizona, be cautious.  Our local laws, like the one requiring employers to verify the citizenship of its employees, may make employing anyone falling into this category still illegal. Consult with an immigration attorney if you have any questions about your particular situation.

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