While no applications are currently being accepted in relation to the executive immigration actions that President Obama announced late last year – and Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a House-approved bill that would rescind the actions – the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is nonetheless moving forward in preparation for the new initiatives.
The agency posted an update on its website, www.uscis.gov, that said the application period for the most controversial of Obama’s actions – deferred action for undocumented but otherwise qualified parents of U.S.-born citizens, known as DAPA – will likely start in mid to late May of this year.
Also, on February 18 USCIS will accept applications for another of the president’s actions, the expansion of his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that will now be expanded to includes undocumented residents of any age who entered the U.S. prior to turning 16, and have lived here continuously since January 10, 2010. Deferred action and employment authorization for eligibles has been extended from two to three years.
DAPA is the main action that the undocumented Irish community is keeping an eye on. Parents of U.S. citizen children will be considered eligible if they’ve lived in the U.S. continuously since January 1, 2010; had a U.S. citizen child (or legal permanent resident child) born on or before November 20, 2014; the parent must also not be an “enforcement priority” for removal from the U.S. – in other words, the parents cannot be a threat to national security, border security and public safety.
The Senate vote on Tuesday didn’t receive the 60 votes needed to bring the House-approved Homeland Security spending bill to the Senate floor, resulting in a blame game all around.
“If they’re going to dig their heels in and say, ‘We’re going to refuse to fund the Department of Homeland Security,’ I think they’re going to be held accountable for that,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas.
“The program is to protect America, not to protect a political party and its partisan points on immigration,” Senator Barbara Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, said.