Despite earlier hints that the “Dreamers” – undocumented youth who were brought to the United States illegally or lost their status while they were underage – might be allowed to retain their work permits and reprieve from deportation, Attorney General Sessions announced today that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will end on March 5, 2018. The six-month lag time is intended to allow Congress to codify DACA-like provisions into law.
After more than 15 years since the statutes were enacted, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will finally publish its proposed regulations implementing the American Competitiveness in the Twenty‑First Century Act of 2000, known as “AC21,” and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998, known as “ACWIA.”
When President Obama signed the omnibus appropriations act on December 18, 2015, he not only funded the federal government through Fiscal Year 2016, but also enacted the ”Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act,” which was passed by the House in early December and incorporated into the appropriations bill.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that undocumented youth who were brought here as children and who meet certain criteria are now eligible for “deferred action,” a form of long-term relief from deportation that allows employment authorization and college attendance, but does not lead to a green card. Known as DREAMers (after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which Congress has failed to pass each time it has been introduced since 2001), these young people have become increasingly vocal and visible in public protests and in the media.
On September 22, 2011, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced HR 3012 in the House. The Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act would eliminate the annual cap on green card numbers for employment-based immigrants and increase the cap for family-based immigrants. Currently, foreign nationals who are sponsored by their employers for permanent jobs in the US wait up to 8 or 9 years for a green card because per-country allocations — originally set by Congress decades ago — have never been raised to keep pace with changing economic and technological needs. The long waiting lists create additional hardship and expense for employers and employees alike.