Obama Issues Executive Order on Deferred Action

Obama Expands Protections for Millions of Immigrants

President Barack Obama
On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced the issuance of an executive order directing the application of prosecutorial discretion to prevent the deportation of up to 5 million undocumented immigrants.  As part of this executive order, the following changes will be made regarding the enforcement of immigration:

  1. Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

    • Removal of the age restriction

      Originally, only immigrants who were less than 31 years of age on June 15, 2012 were eligible to apply for DACA.  This age restriction has been removed, so that anyone who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements is eligible to apply.

    • Extend DACA renewal and worth authorization to three years

      The original period for DACA and the accompanying work authorization was 2 years before having to renew again.  This has been expanded to 3 years.

    • Change in Data of Entry Requirement

      Originally, DACA eligibility was restricted to people who had entered the United States prior to June 15, 2007.  That date has been changed to January 1, 2010.

    US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should begin accepting applicants under this new criteria within ninety (90) days of the announcement on November 20, 2014.

  2. Expansion of Deferred Action

    A program similar to DACA will be implemented, allowing certain people meeting the following requisites to remain in the United States and apply for work authorization:

    • have, on November 20, 2014, a son or daughter who is a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident;
    • have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010;
    • are physically present in the United STates on the date of this memorandum, and at the time of making a request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
    • have no lawful status on the date of this memorandum;
    • are not an enforcement priority (enforcement priorities have been updated at this time and will be discussed in later blog article);
    • present no other factors that, in the exercise of discretion, makes the grant of deferred action inappropriate.

    USCIS should begin accepting applications on this program no later than one hundred eighty (180) days after November 20, 2014. This criteria should be applied to all people who meet these eligibility requirements, regardless of whether they are not in immigration court, are currently in immigration proceedings, or already have a final order of deportation (removal).


Jeh Charles Johnson Memorandum, “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children and with Respect to Certain Individuals Whose Parents are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents”, November 20, 2014. <http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/14_1120_memo_deferred_action.pdf>

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About the Author ()

Jacob Geller is the principle attorney at the Law Offices of Jacob D. Geller, a general practice firm specializing in immigration. Attorney Geller speaks English and Spanish. He lived in Ecuador for two years and spent two months living and working in Buenos Aires and brings a unique understanding of Latin American culture to his practice of law.

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