Changes in Immigration Law with Executive Order | Effects in Spokane and Eastern Washington

President Barack Obama has announced his position regarding his policy on immigration. It is clear that the President waited this long so as not to affect the past midterm election, but it is also clear that a disregard to immigration policy will hurt both Democrats and Republicans at the voting polls.

The comprehensive immigration reform is a bill that had President Obama’s blessing, and was approved by the Senate, but it languished in the House of Representatives for over two years; thus, forcing the President into taking the executive action route.

This executive action will benefit many immigrants who qualify. This benefit will be temporary and could be lost if the political landscape changes (i.e. a Republican President is elected in November 2016 and takes office in January 2017). A new President can simply cancel, or otherwise reverse the executive action issued by President Obama. This does not include the massive opposition the Republican Party will likely (as it has already promised) put forward in the upcoming months.

How Will this Affect Spokane and Eastern Washington?

We have a local USCIS office here in Spokane, located downtown in the main federal building on Riverside. This Spokane office services a big area all over Eastern Washington. This means that many of the executive action petitions will be likely serviced through that office.
Spokane and Eastern Washington has a large Eastern European and Hispanic population who will likely meet the new requirements.

Here is the full presidential speech:


What is this Executive Action Aimed to do?

The President laid out the elements in his speech. Here is what he said:

“So we’re going to offer the following deal: if you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes — you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”

This means this executive action will stop deportation for those who meet the criteria above. This is also a “temporary” relief for those who actually qualify. This is the main reason many immigration reform supporters believe that this change is not really a significant change, but rather a weak fix to a deeply broken immigration system.

Who Qualifies?

According to the President, the following criteria must be met:

– You must be in the United States for more than five years.
– You have a child or a parent who is a citizen or a legal resident.
– You must Pass a criminal background check.
– You must Pay taxes.
– You must Register (file a petition).

However, criteria regarding who qualifies are deeper than this. This executive action expands DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and creates what is being called DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability). In addition, the availability of waivers and other considerations are unclear at this time.

What this Executive Action WILL NOT DO:

– It will not grant any permanent benefits.
– It will not grant any public benefits, including, but not limited to:

– – Unemployment
– – Food Stamps
– – Medical Assistance

– It will not grant residency (i.e. a Green Card).
– It will not grant citizenship.

What Benefits will Immigrants Receive?

For those who qualify, the reform will grant them a temporary work permit, and temporary relief from deportation.

For more information about President Obama new Executive Action and questions about if you qualify, contact our office at 509-560-7051 to make an appointment. You can also visit our contact page here.