Executive Orders Could Change Immigration Debate

Just before he left for an Asian Summit, President Obama announced he would take whatever action he could to improve the immigration situation in the US. We are now just beginning to see what the effect of those executive orders may have.

The Orders are still being finished but many expect them to be signed by the end of the year. In 2012, President Obama signed an executive order that deferred deportation of illegal immigrants that came to the US as children. This was known and Deferred Action. Many gins are seeing these recently legalized people apply for work this year.

While the exact language of the Orders has not been seen yet, it is understood by the media that the intent is to take the same action for immigrant parents of children born in the US (US citizens). This would prevent the splitting of many families and cold affect up to 3.3 million people. They would be given legal status and work visas. As I understand it, there is no pathway to citizenship but that is not clear. Some sources have told the media that the number could be lowered by adding the restriction that it would only be available for those that have lived here at least 10 yrs.

Many feel that the President will go further with additional executive orders unless Congress takes up immigration reform soon. The newly elected House and Senate leadership have not made public any positions on immigration reform other than to say it, (along with a laundry list of other issues) is a top priority.

Assuming these orders go into effect, we can expect to see a number of new types of VISA and Social Security cards. The Deferred Action kids, (sometimes referred to as DREAMers because of failed legislation know as the DREAM act which would have had similar effect and the DACA Executive Order) have been issued SS cards that have the words “Valid for Work with DHS Authorization Only” or similar language. These are valid SS cards but cannot be used for I-9 purposes. They must have additional documentation that says they are eligible to work. (We’ve gotten some calls on these this year).

It will be interesting to see how this comes out and whether or not there is additional pressure put on Congress to make significant changes to the broken Immigration system we have at this point. Border Security, a workable Guest Worker Program, and a plan to deal with the illegal immigrants currently in the US are the three main pillars they need to deal with. We will see how this shakes out over the winter but it could be one of the first tests for the new Congress.