On November 20, 2014, President Obama signed an executive order which could provide up to 5 million immigrants amnesty and protection from deportation for up to 3 years. The President’s order provides hope to many immigrants who are arrested in Stamford, Greenwich and Norwalk for domestic violence, DWI / DUI and operating without a license that would be at risk of deportation.
So who is protected by Obama’s order? Keep reading..
What Is the Purpose of this Executive Order?
President Obama’s order allows individuals who have entered the country illegally to request that their deportation be deferred for 3 years if they have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007. The order provides protection for individuals born prior to June 15, 1981—for those individuals, they must have resided in the United States since January 1, 2010.
Why Is This New Immigration Law So Important?
It signals to Connecticut police, prosecutors and judges that deportation laws are too strict and heavy-handed. Aliens arrested in Stamford for DWI / DUI and domestic violence who face deportation detainers finally have hope. While this new federal law cannot control what city and state agencies do, the law must be complied with by federal Connecticut Immigration Agents (“ICE Agents”) whose job it is to assess whether certain illegal immigrants arrested in Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk for DUI / DWI, domestic violence and driving without a license should be detained and deported.
Deportation Protection for Illegal Alien Parents
Obama’s executive order also grants deportation relief to certain categories of parents of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been present in the country since January 1, 2010. These parents are now eligible for a new legal status that will defer their deportation and allow them to work legally for 3 years. Parents will only qualify for this if: (1) they have had continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010; (2) they are the parents of a United States citizen or lawful resident; and (3) they are not considered an “enforcement priority for removal” by the United States government.
Who Exactly is an Enforcement Priority for Removal?
Individuals who are an “enforcement priority for removal” from the United States do not qualify to apply for Obama’s new deferred deportation plan. An “enforcement priority” is designated upon someone who is considered to be a threat to national security, border security, and public safety will not be eligible to deferred deportation. This includes the following:
- Aliens engaged in or suspected of terrorism, or otherwise pose a danger to national security;
- Aliens apprehended at the border while attempting to enter the United States illegally;
- Aliens convicted of participating in a criminal street gang (18 U.S.C. § 521(a));
- Aliens convicted of a felony;
- Aliens convicted of an aggravated felony (§ 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act);
- Aliens convicted of 3 or more misdemeanor offenses, other than minor traffic offenses;
- Aliens convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” meaning an offense of domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, drug distribution, or any offense for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or more; and
- Aliens who have been issued a final order of removal.
Does Obama’s Program Guarantee Citizenship?
No. It only defers deportation. Unfortunately, if this law is not amended in the future, these people could go back into illegal status after the expiration of the 3-year deferred deportation time period.
Does Obama’s Order Affect illegal Immigrants Currently Arrested (But Not Convicted) in Stamford?
Yes. This order will end the Secure Communities Deportation Program, in order to focus efforts on threats to national security and public safety. The Secure Communities Deportation Program required local Stamford, Greenwich and Connecticut police to detain immigrants arrested in Greenwich and Stamford Connecticut for traffic violations. Local police will no longer be directed by ICE and INS to detain these immigrants. This is welcome news for individuals and families in Stamford and Greenwich who have lived for years in fear of being deported for a petty crime or misdemeanor. In fact, those immigrants who have been arrested, but not convicted of a crime, may still be eligible to apply for the new deferred deportation. President Obama’s order explicitly states that for an immigrant to be disqualified they must have been convicted of a felony, three or more misdemeanors, or have been issued an order of removal. Accordingly, if you have arrested in Stamford, Greenwich, Norwalk or Danbury, and are interested in applying for this program to avoid a conviction and subsequent deportation, you should contact a top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer.