Immigration policy change in US likely to benefit 300,000 immigrants

Policy applies to those in deportation proceedings, also who have lost deportation cases
23rd August 2011: Immigration policy change in US are likely to benefit more than 300,000 immigrants.
The Obama Administration’s recent deportation policy change has given non-criminal immigrants in deportation court the opportunity for a suspension of their case and obtainment of a work permit.

As per PRNewswire, following the Obama Administration’s announcement of a change in immigration deportation policy, confusion has arisen amongst some in immigrant communities as to who qualifies under the policy change.

The Administration confirmed that some of the 300,000 immigrants in removal proceedings who do not have a criminal history may be eligible to obtain work authorization and remain in the United States for an indefinite period.

However, it is unclear whether undocumented immigrants who are not presently in deportation proceedings may benefit from the policy shift.

Immigration attorney Chad Brandt expressed that in the brief time period since the announcement his law firm has received hundreds of questions from undocumented immigrants who are not presently in deportation proceedings asking if they could be helped by the new policy.

Brandt stated that the policy clearly applies to individuals who are now in deportation proceedings as well as those who have lost their deportation cases and are appealing those decisions. However, clear guidance has not been given as to whether the policy will apply to undocumented immigrants considering turning themselves in to DHS to be placed in deportation proceedings.

According to Brandt, it is unusual for undocumented immigrants to choose to voluntarily put themselves in deportation court because it is often extremely difficult to qualify for a defense that would avoid deportation.

However, Brandt stated that individuals that meet the minimum requirements for certain defenses to deportation may now wish to consider their options. One of the toughest decisions that immigrants will have to make is whether they want to consider this opportunity now or wait further. Regardless of the decision that is made, Brandt emphasized that the announcement does not provide a green card or permanent status to immigrants in deportation.

For many, however, something is better than nothing. Having a work permit, obtaining a driver’s license and coming out of the shadows may be more than enough. It is at least the start of the "dream," and not the nightmare so many have been living for decades of failed U.S. immigration policies, according to Brandt.

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