Comment: Clarification And Erratum And Consequences
Yesterday's article by Greg Siskind on the President's Executive Action went viral in China, with over 250,000 views, an unprecedented number for Immigration Daily. There was intense interest in one specific point - the OPT expansion, an issue which the White House website was maddeningly vague about. We queried Mr. Siskind about this matter, and here is his clarification:
"Optional Practical Training - Secretary Johnson has directed ICE and USCIS to develop regulations to expand the degree programs eligible for OPT under the rule that currently allows certain STEM professionals to use OPT for up to 29 months. The time period of 29 months will also be extended, but a specific number of additional months was not mentioned by Secretary Johnson in his memo to USCIS Director Rodriguez. ICE and USCIS are being directed to require "stronger ties" to a degree-granting institution to better ensure the training is furthering the student's full course of study. ICE and USCIS are also directed to take steps to ensure that OPT is consistent with US labor market protections to safeguard the interests of US workers in related fields. No details on these last provisions are provided though it sounds pretty open-ended and could make the OPT rules much more restrictive. There is also talk about counting undergraduate STEM programs for purposes of STEM OPT extensions even if the graduate degree is not in a STEM field."
Erratum: Yesterday's Comment carried the following opening sentences: "The President's actual Executive Order has been released from embargo. A blog post by Greg Siskind below analyzes it in detail". In fact, it was the President's Executive Action that had been released from embargo, not his Executive Order.
Of particular note below, is an article by Harry DeMell examining the practical implications of Mr. Obama's Executive Action raising a number of red flags for those who wish the President's initiative well - we encourage all those interested in immigration advocacy to give Mr. DeMell's points a close read.
On November 20, 2014, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced new immigration enforcement priorities and guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion entitled Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum. All DHS agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), will apply these priorities when deciding which aliens to arrest, detain, and remove from the United States. ICE has long used prosecutorial discretion
On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions to crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
These initiatives include:
Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years | Details
Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, provided they pass required background checks | Details
Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens | Details
Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs | Details
Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee | Details