DREAMERS and Immigration Reform. What is needed?

Immigration Reform is here and Dreamers can get a work permit and get to be here legally if they qualify. Brian Lerner states that Dreamers has been able to apply for DACA or Deferred Action for the last 2-3 years. However, with the new immigration reform for Dreamers, we now have an expanded DACA and more people will qualify for Dreamers.


Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Attorney states that the following list is the general requirements of the immigration reform for Dreamers:

The program will be open to individuals who:


  1. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010, up to the present time;
  3. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  4. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  5. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  6. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Brian Lerner, immigration attorney states that the difference between this immigration reform for Dreamers and the last Immigration Reform for Dreamers is that it first takes out the upper age requirement. Basically, one could not be older than 31 years old at the time that the first immigration reform Dreamers was made. Now, they can be as old as they are. However, the applicant, in accordance with Brian D. Lerner, must have not been older than 16 years old when he or she entered the United States.

See Brian D. Lerner speak about the immigration reform news 2014 about the new DACA

Additionally, another element with the new immigration reform is that instead of having to be physically present from all the way back in 2007, they can now show that they have been physically present since 2010. Otherwise, the immigration reform for Dreamers is basically the same. One item of concern is that you have to look at the last item regarding the criminal history of the applicant. Now, with the new immigration reform for Dreamers, there is also a rather comprehensive memo from the director of Department of Homeland Security which makes clear that someone may be under priority 1, priority 2 or priority 3 or no priority at all for immigration enforcement. Thus, there is the interplay between the immigration reform for Dreamers requirement that somebody not have been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor or 3 or more other misdemeanors and how that interacts with the enforcement memo. Brian Lerner also states that the definition of what is a ‘significant’ misdemeanor and/or felony seems to have been clarified somewhat by the new priority memo. Assumably, if somebody qualifies for the immigration reform for Dreamers, they will not be deported – even if under a certain priority category for enforcement.  Brian Lerner states we will have to see how this plays out and hope that the immigration officials will follow properly the executive order as well as the new policy memorandum on enforcement priorities.

As  usual, with immigration reform for Dreamers, there are questions and ambiguities and issues that need to be resolved. However, in the end, it is a good expansion of the immigration reform for Dreamers and is constitutional under the law.

Immigration Reform and DAPA. What is it?

The immigration Reform Executive Order by President Obama has  a new kind of relief called DAPA. Brian Lerner states this will open up the doors for millions of people, but they must be notified if they qualify and they must do what is necessary to file the applications.


As of now, it is ordered by President Obama that the DAPA applications will be accepted starting 180 days after the issuance of the immigration reform for DAPA applicant. Hence, Brian D. Lerner, immigration attorney, explains that DAPA is the following:

The program will be open to individuals who:

  • have a U.S. citizen or LPR son or daughter as of November 20, 2014;
  • have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010;
  • are physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014, and at the time of


  • have no lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014;
  • are not an enforcement priority, which is defined to include individuals with a wide range of

criminal convictions (including certain misdemeanors), those suspected of gang involvement

and terrorism, recent unlawful entrants, and certain other immigration law violators

  • present no other factors that would render a grant of deferred action inappropriate; and
  • pass a background check.


See Brian D. Lerner speak about the new DAPA program discussed in the immigration reform USA news


Thus, this DAPA is meant for persons who have children born here in the U.S, are U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. Brian D. Lerner states over the years, families have been torn apart. Granted the parents were here in the U.S. illegally, but they had families consisting of children and they were deported from the U.S. They suffered, and their families suffered and their children and spouses suffered. Thankfully, claims Brian D. Lerner, DAPA has come along to essentially allow these people who qualify to stay here in the U.S. under the immigration reform for DAPA.


Some people are thinking that anybody and everybody is allowed to apply for DAPA. However, explains Brian D. Lerner, that could not be further from the truth. In tact one of the elements of this particular relief specifically states that the person is not to be an enforcement priority. Brian Lerner states that under the immigration reform for DAPA that there was a very detailed memorandum put out by the Secretary of Homeland Security and that it defines with some specificity what are to be considered the highest enforcement priority under Priority #1, the mid level priority under Priority #2, and the lowest priority under Priority #3.

Thus, the issues that will exist is whether or not under the immigration reform for DAPA if somebody is under a particular Priority of enforcement whether they can still put together a convincing immigration reform DAPA packet. The DACA part of the immigration reform does have some specific exceptions which have been placed into the requirements. Unfortunately, the immigration reform for DAPA does not. It is unclear, states Brian Lerner, whether this was intentional, or whether it was purposeful and that President Obama did not want to allow DAPA applicants to be able to apply for DAPA if they do have a criminal history. In that case, it is still possible to have a criminal history and not be under an enforcement priority. However, this would take considerable argument to make sure that you properly argue you are not an enforcement priority and you qualify for DAPA. You don’t want to risk being put into removal proceedings because you do not properly prepare the DAPA application. Thus, the immigration reform for DAPA exists and will allow millions of people relief, but Brian Lerner states you must do it correctly.

President Obama’s Immigration Reform also deals with Parole in Place for the military and inventors

At least three separate DHS memos address various aspects of “parole.” In the immigration context, parole refers to allowing an individual to temporarily enter the United States for purposes of significant public benefit or for humanitarian reasons without technically admitting the person into the country. President Obama’s immigration reform changes somewhat the policy.  Although parole is issued on a case-by-case basis, there is a long history of designated categories of

individuals who may qualify for parole.


“Advance parole” and “parole-in-place” are forms of parole explains Brian D. Lerner. Advance parole refers to giving an individual currently residing in the United States in a temporary status permission to travel abroadfor a short period and return to the United States without jeopardizing the existing status. President Obama’s immigration reform also deals with  Parole-in-place. This is a type of parole in which an individual who is already in the United States, but who is here without permission, is nonetheless granted parole without having to leave the country. Individuals granted parole—including advance parole and parole-in-place—may ultimately be able to gain lawful permanent status without leaving the United States, if they are otherwise eligible.


Thus, Brian Lerner states that the PIP – Parole in place will be somewhat expanded.  Parole in place to protect military families  is where it will be expanded under President Obama’s immigration reform. Secretary Johnson announced new policies to protect unauthorized families of the U.S. military and of those seeking to enlist. In November 2013, DHS issued guidance permitting parole-in-place for unauthorized family members of military personnel and veterans. The new guidance will expand the availability of parole-in-place, as well as deferred action, to family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who seek to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. Under President Obama’s immigration reform, the Secretary also asked USCIS to consider granting deferred action to family members of current military personnel and veterans who have overstayed their visas.


A very interesting development according to Brian D. Lerner is that DHS officials will be instructed to follow a 2012 immigration decision (Matter of Arrabally), finding that a lawfully present individual who travels abroad after a grant of advance parole does not trigger the three- or 10-year bars that ordinarily apply when a person departs the United States after residing here unlawfully for more than six months. Under this decision, states Brian Lerner, individuals who would be eligible for LPR status but for the fact that their last entry into the United States was unlawful may be able to apply for permanent resident status upon their parole back into the United States. The new DHS instruction will ensure consistent application across the department. This might be a very good way for somebody to adjust status in the U.S. Brian Lerner explains that they could get the parole, come back into the U.S. and under certain circumstances adjust.


President Obama’s immigration reform also adds a completely new parole for investors, researchers, and founders of start-up enterprises. Brian Lerner states there are currently no new regulations on this, but USCIS has been directed to draft regulations for a new category of parole to enable certain inventors, researchers, and founders of start-up businesses to enter the United States before they become eligible for a visa. Parole would allow these individuals to temporarily pursue research and development of promising ideas and businesses in the United States, rather than abroad. Thus, President Obama’s immigration reform has lots of good news on Parole for differing categories of persons and hopefully will get the regulations issued soon

USCIS to No Longer Accept Prior Editions of Form I-129 as of 2/23/15

USCIS released a new I-129 Form, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, containing an edition date of October 23, 2014. After February 23, 2015, USCIS will only accept the October 23, 2014 edition.

The Immigration Reform and when it becomes effective

The immigration reform by President Obama has several different provisions states Brian D. Lerner. Many of those provisions have different dates upon which they will become effective. The immigration reform provides a new DAPA, an expanded DACA, updated Prosecutorial Discretion standards through different priorities, expanded standards for eligibility for the Provisional Waiver and various other matters.


Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Attorney states that there are different priorities and exceptions to the those priority standards. The revised guidance shall be effective on January 5, 2015 states Brian D. Lerner. Implementing training and guidance will be provided to the workforce prior to the effective date for the immigration reform. The revised guidance in the immigration reform memorandum applies only to foreign nationals encountered or apprehended on or after the effective date, and aliens detained, in removal proceedings, or subject to removal orders who have not been removed from the United States as of the effective date. Therefore, Brian D. Lerner suggests that if you are in Removal Proceedings right now, it might be a good idea under immigration reform to request a continuance from Immigration Court until after January 15, 2015.

Nothing in the immigration reform guidance is intended to modify USCIS Notice to Appear policies, which remain in force and effect to the extent they are not inconsistent with the immigration reform memorandum. The actual Memorandum put out by Jeh Johnson actually rescinded many prior memos. Brian Lerner states that the official memorandum actually have been rescinded:


“Civil Immigration Enforcement: Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and  Removal Of Aliens,” (ICE, John Morton, Mar. 2, 2011), “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion Consistent with the Civil Enforcement Priorities  of the Agency for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens,” (ICE, John  Morton, June 17, 2011),  “Case-by-Case Review of Incoming and Certain Pending Cases,” (ICE, Peter  Vincent, Nov. 17, 2011) , “Civil Immigration Enforcement: Guidance on the Use of Detainers in the Federal,  State, Local, and Tribal Criminal Justice Systems,” (ICE, Dec. 21, 2012) , “National Fugitive Operations Program: Priorities, Goals, and Expectations,” (ICE,  Dec. 8, 2009) , “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants,” (Nov. 20, 2011).

Watch Brian D. Lerner speak about immigration reform enforcement priorities

Brian Lerner states that Immigration reform has made it that the following memoranda remain in effect:  “Revised Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear  (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Removable Aliens,” (USCIS, Nov. 7,  2011) and “Prosecutorial Discretion: Certain Victims, Witnesses, and Plaintiffs,” (ICE, John Morton, June 17, 2011).


Thus, Brian Lerner notes that since so many of the prior policy memorandum have been revoked and are no longer in effect, it only shows how much more important the new policy memo on enforcement and removal of aliens and priorities of removal will be. In fact, the memorandum makes clear that all of the divisions under the Homeland Security will and should follow the mandates of the memorandum.

Immigration reform is here and while there are more than 15 governors suing President Obama claiming that the immigration reform is unconstitutional, there are far more Professors, businesses, have written their support for the immigration reform. Maybe, states Brian D. Lerner, the immigration reform will move Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Maybe this executive order leading to certain immigration reform will be the precursor to a much bigger and much broader immigration reform.

Court Says BIA Erred in Looking Outside the Record to Rule on Consequences of Conviction

The Ninth Circuit held that the BIA erred in looking outside the record of the conviction to conclude that the petitioner was convicted of spousal abuse under California Penal Code §273.5(a) and remanded for the BIA to consider whether the petitioner is eligible for the petty offense exception under INA §212(a)(2)(A)(ii).

The new immigration reform bill makes changes to prosecutorial discretion

The immigration reform bill just issued by President Obama is actually not a ‘bill’ per se, but rather, an executive order. One part of the order was a comprehensive memo by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security that changed, altered and made in some respects clearer the priorities for deporting people and/or putting people in deportation proceedings.

Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Attorney, states that the immigration reform bill that deals with priorities has three major parts. The highest priority is referred to as Priority 1, second highes t is Priority 2 and of course the third and least preference is Priority 3. Therefore, states Brian Lerner, if you will be requesting prosecutorial discretion and you are under Priority 3 of the immigration reform bill, you should have the highest chance of success.

Priority 3 of the immigration reform bill states as follows: Priority 3 (other immigration violations): Priority 3 aliens are those who have been issued a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014. The immigration reform bill states that aliens described in this priority, who are not also described in Priority 1 or 2, represent the third and lowest priority for apprehension and removal. Hence, states Brian Lerner, it is listed by the Secretary of Homeland Security that is the lowest priority. This is quite interesting, because usually somebody with a prior removal order will get one of the highest priorities from immigration.

Resources should be dedicated accordingly to aliens in this priority according to the immigration reform bill. Priority 3 aliens should generally be removed unless they qualify for asylum or another form of relief under our laws or, unless, in the judgment of an immigration officer, the alien is not a threat to the integrity of the immigration system or there are factors suggesting the alien should not be an enforcement priority. Unfortunately, it is this part of Priority 3 of the immigration reform bill that gives most concern. It puts a great deal of discretion in the officer at the lowest levels the ability to basically believe that removing somebody is always an enforcement priority. Brian Lerner states that it is this section that also is the most ambiguous and unclear. Perhaps in the months to come before the regulations are issued, there will be clarification as to this last part of Priority 3.

Brian D. Lerner explains in more detail the immigration reform bill and its reference to a ‘final order of removal’. It is necessary, explains Brian Lerner to know what is meant by the term ‘final order of removal’. An order of removal made by the immigration judge at the conclusion of proceedings under section 240 of the Act shall become final: (a) Upon dismissal of an appeal by the Board of Immigration Appeals; (b) Upon waiver of appeal by the respondent; (c) Upon expiration of the time allotted for an appeal if the respondent does not file an appeal within that time; (d) If certified to the Board or Attorney General, upon the date of the subsequent decision ordering removal; (e) If an immigration judge orders an alien removed in the alien’s absence, immediately upon entry of such order; or (f) If an immigration judge issues an alternate order of removal in connection with a grant of voluntary departure, upon overstay of the voluntary departure period, or upon the failure to post a required voluntary departure bond within 5 business days. Brian Lerner states that if the respondent has filed a timely appeal with the Board, the order shall become final upon an order of removal by the Board or the Attorney General, or upon overstay of the voluntary departure period granted or reinstated by the Board or the Attorney General.

The immigration reform bill does give a lot of hope to the families and to foreign nationals here in the U.S. However, Brian Lerner states there are ambiguities in the Priorites memo and you should get an experienced attorney to help you.


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