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President Obama’s Immigration Enforcement Priorities and Initiatives

On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced his executive action on immigration. As the president awaits immigration reform from Congress, he has outlined steps he believes are necessary to fix a broken immigration system. Three critical elements of Mr. Obama’s plan are:

  • Cracking down on illegal immigration on the border — Pres. Obama asserts that his plan increases the chance that anyone who crosses the border illegally will be apprehended and sent back.
  • Deporting felons, not families — The president wants DHS to focus removal efforts on individuals who threaten public safety and national security in the U.S.
  • Accountability through criminal background checks and taxes— Undocumented workers who have been in the country more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or LPRs must register, pass a background check and start paying taxes while staying in the U.S. legally on a temporary basis.

To meet these objectives, the president has announced steps he will take as chief executive.

The president’s plan for enhanced border security includes:

  • Shifting resources to the border — During the summer of 2014, DHS sent hundreds of Border Patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel to the U.S. border with Mexico. DHS is initiating a new Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan to keep the border secure.
  • Streamlining the court process — The Department of Justice has compiled a package of immigration court reforms to facilitate processing of backlogged cases and quickly adjudicate cases that meet DHS enforcement priorities.
  • Protecting the victims of crime and laborers — The Department of Labor is expanding immigration options for victims of crime to receive U and T visas when they cooperate with government investigations.

Other aspects of the president’s plan include:

  • Directing DHS to implement a new Priority Enforcement Program that effectively identifies and removes criminals from local jails, state prisons and federal penitentiaries.
  • Creating a mechanism by which undocumented aliens are required to pass background checks and get temporary work authorization.
  • Expanding the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) to cover DREAMERs, who entered the U.S. before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.

If you have any questions about how these changes might affect you or a family member, speak to a knowledgeable and concerned attorney at Bretz & Coven, LLP. We’re determined to see that you receive every advantage under the law. Call us today at 212-267-2555 or contact our office online to schedule a confidential appointment.

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Immigration Consequences of Criminal and Fraudulent Conduct
The immigration consequences of criminal or fraudulent conduct can be harsh and often illogical. Even a very minor offense could have a dramatic immigration consequence, including deportation, detention without bond, being denied naturalization, a visa or re-entry into the United States. Likewise, the use of fake or fraudulent documents, aliases, and other misrepresentations can have similar immigration consequences. Kerry Bretz and Bretz & Coven have been counseling non-citizen criminal defendants, as well as their lawyers, for over 20 years. We have a long history of strategizing deportation and removal defenses, as well as applications for waivers, in very complicated cases.

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