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[IWS] CRS: THE PRESIDENT'S IMMIGRATION ACCOUNTABILITY EXECUTIVE ACTION OF NOVEMBER 20, 2014: OVERVIEW AND ISSUES [8 January 2015]

IWS Documented News Service

_______________________________

Institute for Workplace Studies-----------------Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor--------------------Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

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This service is supported, in part, by donations. Please consider making a donation by following the instructions at http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/iws/news-bureau/support.html

 

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

 

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action of November 20, 2014: Overview and Issues

William A. Kandel, Coordinator, Analyst in Immigration Policy

Jerome P. Bjelopera, Specialist in Organized Crime and Terrorism

Andorra Bruno, Specialist in Immigration Policy

Alison Siskin, Specialist in Immigration Policy

January 8, 2015

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R43852.pdf

[full-text, 37 pages]

 

Summary

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his Immigration Accountability Executive

Action which revises some U.S. immigration policies and initiates several programs, including a

revised border security policy for the Southwest border; deferred action programs for some

unauthorized aliens; revised interior enforcement priorities; changes to aid the entry of skilled

workers; the promotion of immigrant integration and naturalization; and several other initiatives

the President indicated would improve the U.S. immigration system. The most controversial

among these provisions will grant deferred action to as many as 5 million unauthorized aliens.

 

The President announced the executive actions through ten Department of Homeland Security

(DHS) memoranda, two White House memoranda, and three Department of Labor (DOL) fact

sheets. Together, they comprise the following initiatives:

 

Border Security: forming three new task forces as part of DHS’s Southern

Border and Approaches Campaign Strategy that integrates efforts not only within

DHS’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) but also among other DHS

agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship

and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the U.S. Coast Guard;

Interior Enforcement and Removals: revising priorities for immigration

enforcement and detention; ending the Secure Communities program and

replacing it with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), collecting and

disseminating improved metrics on removals, and reforming the employment

structure for ICE Enforcement and Removal Office (ERO) agents;

Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): increasing the

population eligible for the DACA program by expanding the eligibility criteria,

and extending the duration of DACA and its related work authorization from two

to three years;

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents

(DAPA): allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents

(LPRs) to request deferred action and employment authorization if they meet

residency and other criteria and pass required background checks;

Parole Rules: revising conditions under which eligible family members of

military personnel, persons traveling abroad, and certain entrepreneurs may

receive parole;

Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers: expanding the use of provisional

unlawful presence waivers beyond spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens to

also include the spouses and minor children of LPRs as well as the adult children

of U.S. citizens, and clarifying the “extreme hardship” standard that must be met

to obtain this waiver;

High Skilled Workers: ensuring that all statutorily available LPR visas are fully

utilized, reviewing the labor certification program and its regulations to

strengthen its integrity and responsiveness to workforce changes, providing

foreign workers with greater flexibility to change jobs, expanding the use of

national interest waivers to retain selected highly qualified workers, expanding

opportunities for students to gain on-the-job training through administrative rule

changes, and clarifying the meaning of “specialized knowledge” to ensure U.S.

workers are not being unfairly displaced;

Immigrant Integration and Naturalization: initiating an inter-agency task force

to identify and promote both immigrant integration “best practices” within states

and localities as well as facilitating steps that can be taken administratively

within and among federal agencies, and encouraging eligible LPRs to naturalize

through additional payment options and possible partial fee waivers;

Immigrant Visa System: providing recommendations to streamline, modernize,

and improve immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing;

Labor Protection: creating an inter-agency working group to promote effective

and consistent enforcement of federal labor, employment, and immigration laws

to protect all workers regardless of legal status; and

Crime Victims: expanding the DOL Wage and Hour Division’s role in supporting

foreign national victims of human trafficking and other select crimes.

 

According to the President, the actions were taken in response to the absence of legislation

addressing major problems within the immigration system. The President has stated that his

actions are temporary, and that his successor can rescind them. Those opposed to the executive

actions argue they were taken largely for political purposes. They contend that once granted, such

temporary measures would be difficult to revoke. Separately, a debate has arisen as to whether the

President has the legal authority to take such actions, with the Administration and others arguing

the President’s actions fall within his authority, and many in Congress arguing the President has

overstepped it. That debate and its attendant legal questions are beyond the scope of this report.

 

Because the President announced his executive actions relatively recently, little guidance is

available to clarify policies and answer questions related to the revisions and initiatives they

include. The two deferred action programs, both of which require petitioners to submit fees, are

the only initiatives in the executive action supported by independent fee-supported funding. The

rest rely largely on changes in rules and regulations and on the coordination and marshaling of

existing administrative resources. As the Administration proceeds to implement the executive

actions, some in Congress have vowed to halt some or all of them.

 

Contents

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Overview of Major U.S. Immigration Policy Issues ................................................................. 1

Broad Elements of Immigration Reform ................................................................................... 2

Summary of the President’s Executive Action .......................................................................... 2

Border Security ................................................................................................................................ 3

Coordinating Border Security .................................................................................................... 5

Discussion.................................................................................................................................. 6

Enforcement Priorities, Secure Communities, and Pay Reform ...................................................... 7

Enforcement Priorities ............................................................................................................... 7

Detention Priorities .................................................................................................................... 9

Removal Statistics ................................................................................................................... 10

Secure Communities/Interoperability ...................................................................................... 10

Personnel Reform .................................................................................................................... 12

Discussion................................................................................................................................ 12

Deferred Action, Parole, and Provisional Inadmissibility Waivers ................................................ 13

Deferred Action ....................................................................................................................... 13

Expansion of Eligibility for DACA .................................................................................. 14

Establishment of the New Deferred Action Process ......................................................... 14

Parole ....................................................................................................................................... 15

Expansion of Use of Parole-in-Place for Military Families .............................................. 15

Advance Parole ................................................................................................................. 16

Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers .................................................................................. 16

Expansion of Eligibility for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers............................... 18

Clarification of Extreme Hardship Standard ..................................................................... 18

Discussion................................................................................................................................ 18

High-Skilled Workers .................................................................................................................... 19

Permanent Employment-Based Immigration .......................................................................... 19

High-Skilled Temporary Worker Visas .................................................................................... 20

Changes to Current Policy ....................................................................................................... 21

Preventing Visa Retrogression .......................................................................................... 21

Labor Certification ............................................................................................................ 22

Changing Jobs ................................................................................................................... 22

National Interest Waiver .................................................................................................... 22

Start Up Visas .................................................................................................................... 23

Optional Practical Training (OPT) .................................................................................... 23

L Visas ............................................................................................................................... 24

Discussion ......................................................................................................................... 25

Integration and Naturalization ....................................................................................................... 25

Immigrant Integration .............................................................................................................. 25

Encouraging Naturalization ..................................................................................................... 26

Discussion................................................................................................................................ 28

Other Executive Action Initiatives ................................................................................................. 28

Modernizing the U.S. Immigrant Visa System ........................................................................ 28

More Consistent Enforcement of Federal Labor, Employment, and Immigration Laws ........ 29

Expanding Support for Crime Victims .................................................................................... 30

Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 31

 

Figures

Figure 1. Apprehensions and Border Patrol Staffing along the Southwest Border ......................... 5

 

Contacts

Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 32

 

 

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This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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