Saturday, 23 November 2013

Obama policies hold ‘work’ as the liberation mantra for all immigrants

The Obama administration has been trying to warm the cockles of illegal immigrant community by reaching out to the second generation of undocumented immigrants. The decision to grant work permits for youngsters from the undocumented sections to work than sending them to jail or deporting was hailed as a positive and humane step.

In what is known as DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) the work permits are offered if the applicant has complied with the conditions laid down. But there is no promise of any permanent residency or citizenship despite some obvious relief in the form of partial social security benefits, driving license and a tax number.
The controversial new policy was first announced by President Obama in June 2012. In August 2012 the Department of Homeland Security came out with the immigration work permit form and its eligibility details, application procedure and approval process for the DACA with an application fee of $465 fee. The programme had a formal start on 15 August 2012.


DACA targets the younger immigrants who can contribute to the host country. The conditions are they must be younger than 30 and must have come to the United States before the age of 16 and lived there for at least five years continuously. In terms of education, they must have graduated from high school or college and there should not be any criminal convictions.

Every application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis at one of the four service centers run by the USCIS. The rival Republicans charged the President of circumventing the Congress with his executive action.

Defending the move Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called it a ‘process of a compassion and common-sense’ to a group of individuals who were brought to the United States illegally for no fault of theirs and have grown up in the country as Americans. The immigration laws are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they meant to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even not even know its language.

Highlights of Reform

But the current bipartisan bill drafted by a group of eight senators, four Republicans and four Democrats is ready to please both the political poles. The Bill offers the nation's unauthorized immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship within 13 years. It also promises to add $6.5 billion to secure the nation's border with Mexico and will screen all U.S. business owners to check the immigration status of new recruits and revamp the legal immigration system to welcome more high-tech and lower-skilled workers on short-term visas.

Road Map for Citizenship

For attaining citizenship, the illegal immigrants have to achieve temporary legal status for at least 10 years by coming clean on the criminal background check, learn English, pay taxes, fees and $2,000 in fines. If approved, the bill will pave an opportunity for illegal immigrants to get organized. Clearly the bill puts a role for an immigrant tax attorney to sort out issues at the heart of the eligibility for citizenship.

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