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IMMIGRATION REFORM

EXECUTIVE ALTERNATIVES TO CONGRESSIONAL INACTION Congress has failed to enact immigration reform since the Presidential Election, almost two years. The Director of Immigration has been directed to extend benefits and protections to undocumented immigrants under the powers of the Executive Branch without relying on Congress now. These powers may be used to aid family unity, to foster economic growth and to relieve immigrants from uncertainty and hardship in having to return home by granting them the right to Adjustment of Status.TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS (TPS) Salvadorans, Haitians, Hondurans and Nicaraguans who have been granted TPS now are ineligible to adjust to permanent residence. The new executive proposed Order would enable some 400,000 undocumented nationals of these countries to obtain permanent residence here without returning home.PAROLE IN PLACE The Immigration Service has legal authority to parole immigrants on a humanitarian basis. Any alien present in the U.S. even though not documented, may be deemed an applicant for admission. This privilege has been seldom granted before. The Immigration Service has decided to expand this humanitarian program by allowing “qualified applicants” to be excused from returning to their country. The President has this power under parole. The program is called “Parole in Place”, PIP. Last month PIP qualified U.S. military dependents to receive its benefit to preserve family unity and to avoid the need to depart for families of the military.Another group the Immigration Service is considering for PIP are minors who entered without inspection. Under consideration are immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for many years, the elderly, and the caretakers of children who are disabled.EXTREME HARDSHIPApplicants who entered without documents or overstayed who have applied for a Waiver of Inadmissability have been treated harshly by Consulates. Even though such applicants have U.S. spouses, U.S. children and/or U.S. parents, the Consulates have been unsympathetic and stringent in their interpretation of extreme hardship for U.S. family members who suffer by their family member’s exclusion.The Executive Branch now will lower this “hardship” bar to avoid long periods of separation from spouses, children and parents. By a lower standard of proof, many undocumented aliens would have less reason to fear and would come out of the closet to apply for immigration relief.DEFERRAL ACTIONIf the Immigration Service believes an undocumented alien’s removal is not in the public interest, the Service may grant indefinite deferred action. This would enable such immigrants to get work authorization, travel abroad, and live here. Relief may become available (ostensibly because Congress might change the law in future, even though no relief now exists.
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