Tomorrow night, Thursday 11/20/14, President Obama address the nation to lay out the executive actions he’s taking to fix our broken immigration system. Some of these reforms could create options for many undocumented individuals living in Washington State and throughout the country to obtain temporary protection from deportation and work permits.
You can watch the President live tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET at WhiteHouse.gov/Live
There has been no announcement yet, but a group of community organizations have set up this site to provide community information about the announcement and about the community events that will be planned to provide additional information when it is available.
What is the President expected to announce? The details of the reforms are still unknown but will be posted to this site as soon as they are available. It is expected that the President will announce that the government will grant “deferred action” to certain undocumented individuals. Deferred action essentially means that the government knows an individual is in the country without permission but is not seeking to deport them. It allows the person to apply for a work permit, though this is not automatic. Deferred action is not permanent status and will not allow someone to eventually apply for citizenship or a green card by itself.
How can I apply? There has been no announcement so no one can apply for any new program yet. Even after the announcement is made, it is expected that the government will not accept applications for several months. It is important to note that there is a separate program that President Obama announced in 2012, which is known as DACA or deferred action for Dreamers. That program will continue and if you are eligible, you can apply now. More information about DACA.
I am in removal (deportation) proceedings, what should I do? If you are represented by an attorney, you should contact him/her. If you are not, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Should I apply for this program if I qualify? This is a decision that you will have to make but we urge you to make it only after you consult with an attorney or qualified legal provider who can explain your options and the risks in your individual case.
Will I be able to get help with this process? Again, there has been no announcement yet, so there is no way to be able to help with any new process at this time. Once the President announces details about who might qualify to seek deferred action, community groups will be holding workshops to help explain the requirements. Please check our calendar for events in your area. [link to calendar] When it comes to get legal help, it is important that you get help only from attorneys or organizations that have been recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Find a recognized organization here.
Is there anything I can do now? The main thing you can do right now is to stay informed for additional information and visit this website frequently with updates. You can also start collecting documentation you already have showing the time that you have been living in the U.S., but do NOT submit anything to the government until you get a legal consultation and the process has been announced. You may also want to save money to pay for likely application fees and other costs.