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President Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration Accountability

President Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration Accountability
What are the facts and what do you need to know

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules. Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system. These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

These are common sense steps, but only Congress can finish the job. As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill—like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago—that can replace these actions and fix the whole system. Three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are:

  • Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border: The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back. Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.

  • Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.

  • Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes: The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.

The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and will promote naturalization for those who qualify.

For more than a half century, every president—Democratic or Republican—has used his legal authority to act on immigration. President Obama is now taking another commonsense step. As the Administration implements these executive actions, Congress should finish the job by passing a bill like the bipartisan Senate bill that: continues to strengthen border security by adding 20,000 more Border Patrol agents; cracks down on companies who hire undocumented workers; creates an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay a fine and taxes, pass a background check, learn English and go to the back of the line; and boosts our economy and keeps families together by cutting red tape to simplify our legal immigration process.

For more information view PDF from AILA.org


2014 H-1B Cap Quota Reached

FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2014 H‐1B CAP REACHED
View PDF

On Friday, April 5, 2013, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) announced that the 2014 Fiscal Year (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014) H-1B cap quota had been reached. They had received enough H‐1B petitions to exhaust the quota, including the 20,000 for U.S. advanced degree holders. The H‐1B visa quota for each fiscal year is 65,000. Out of these, some H‐1B visa numbers are set aside specifically for citizens of Chile and Singapore. An additional 20,000 H‐1B numbers are available for candidates who hold at least a Master's Degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.

This means that no new cap‐subject H‐1B petitions may be filed until NEXT YEAR, beginning on April 1, 2014, with a requested H‐1B employment start date of Oct. 1, 2014. Cap‐subject H‐1B petitions received after April 5, 2013, will be rejected and returned with the CIS filing fees.

THE LOTTERY: CIS will apply a random "lottery" process to select which H-1Bs they will process, for those petitions received between April 1st and April 5th, inclusive. They will announce in approximately 2 weeks which petitions have been selected under the lottery. The lottery will be applied first to the U.S. Master's Cap cases (those beneficiary's with U.S. Master's degree or higher, for which 20,000 are granted). Cases not awarded a Master's cap will then be entered into the lottery for regular H‐1B cap cases.

CAP EXEMPT Categories of H‐1B Petitions

The following types of H‐1Bs are not subject to the annual H‐1B cap, and may continue to be filed without numerical limitation:
1. CHANGE OF EMPLOYER H‐1B petitions for candidates counted under a previous year's H‐1B cap who currently hold H‐1B status and are seeking a change of employer
2. PREVIOUS H-1B VISA HOLDERS: H‐1B Petitions on behalf of candidates who were previously granted H‐1B status in the past six years and did not exhaust the full 6 years of their original H-1B stay in the U.S.
3. EXTENSIONS: for existing H‐1B employees
4. HIGHER EDUCATION/NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS/GOVERNMENTAL RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS: H‐1B Petitions on behalf of employees of institutions of higher education, Nonprofit Organizations affiliated with institutions of higher education, Nonprofit Research Organizations or Governmental Research Organizations
5. CHILE/SINGAPORE: H‐1B visa numbers also remain available for citizens of Chile and Singapore, pursuant to trade agreements that set aside H‐1B numbers under each year's quota.
For more information on a potential H‐1B cap exemption, please contact Youn Law Group (YLG). If you are unsure whether a particular organization may meet the requirements for H‐1B cap exemption, or wish to explore how it may qualify in the future, YLG can assist you in evaluating the affiliations and preparing the arguments on behalf of your organization.

H-1B ALTERNATIVES

Some candidates for H‐1B classification potentially qualify under one or more alternative nonimmigrant visas. The following classifications remain available:

1. The TN visa category is an appropriate alternative for Canadian and Mexican citizens seeking work visas in certain professional categories in accordance with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAFTA list of professional classifications includes, but is not limited to: Engineer, Accountant, Architect, Computer Systems Analyst, Graphic Designer, Management Consultant, Scientific Technician/Technologist including Engineering Technicians), and various occupations in the medical and allied health professions.

2. The E‐3 visa category is available for Australian citizens who will be employed in the United States in a specialty occupation. The requirements for this category are similar to those for the H‐1B category.

3. The L‐1 visa category is for international transferees who have worked with a company abroad for at least a year and are being transferred to the U.S. to continue working with a U.S. affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch office of the company. Employment must have been and must continue to be in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.

4. The E‐1 and E‐2 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visa categories may be used for employing qualified personnel with U.S. companies where the company's ownership is from country that has been approved as an E-1/E-2 treaty trader. Generally, the prospective employee must be coming to engage in employment with the company as a managerial, executive, or essential employee with the company in order to qualify.

5. The H‐3 visa category may be used for the temporary training of qualified foreign nationals in the United States pursuant to a detailed, established training program. The H-3 visa is also subject to a quota, but has not been reached.

6. The O‐1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability visa category would be an appropriate alternative for those individuals who have reached the pinnacle of their fields of endeavor and have sustained national or international acclaim for their extraordinary achievements.

7. The B-1 business visa category: Under very limited, short‐term circumstances in which a foreign national will remain on a foreign payroll and meet other strict criteria when coming to the United States, the B‐1 visa may be an appropriate option in lieu of the H‐1B visa. YLG can assist you in determining whether the B‐1 visa may be an appropriate alternative in particular cases.

In limited cases, a company may sponsor an employee directly for permanent residency, and this alternative could be considered for individuals who meet established criteria and are classifiable under an employment‐based immigrant visa category for which immigrant visa numbers are readily available under the annual quota system for immigrant visas.

For more information regarding these potential alternatives to H‐1B visas, please contact the Youn Law Group. We are happy to assist you in determining whether a beneficiary may qualify under an alternative visa classification, and can assist you in developing an appropriate case strategy for collecting the information and documentation required to proceed. 

Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process

Watch the Video below for more information about the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process


August 3, 2012

Over the past three years, the Obama Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including individuals convicted of crimes with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines. Individuals who demonstrate that they meet the guidelines below may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and may be eligible for employment authorization.

You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Individuals may begin to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals on August 15, 2012. Please do not file before August 15. If you file early, your request will be rejected. Individuals can call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 with questions or to request more information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process or visit www.uscis.gov.

For more information and Frequently Asked Questions please visit the Department of Homeland Security page.

Deferred Action for Undocumented Students


On June 15, 2012, President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security formally announced that it will offer DEFERRED ACTION to "DREAMers." Eligible individuals must:
    • Be 15-30 years old
    • Have entered the US before the age 16
    • Have been continuously present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012, with no absences
    • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple minor misdemeanors
    • Be currently in school, graduated or have a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran
The deferred action offer will also be available to those in deportation proceedings.

THE REGULATIONS ARE STILL TAKING 60 DAYS TO PASS.  IF YOU FEEL YOU ARE ELIGIBLE, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FILE FOR THIS STATUS OR A WORK PERMIT YET, BUT YOU SHOULD START PREPARING NOW.  THE YOUN LAW GROUP CAN HELP.  Please schedule your appointment now: 770-622-9011.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) alerts eligible individuals NOT to submit a deferred action request at this time. If you submit now, your application will be REJECTED.  USCIS has 60 days to create a process to accept these requests and they are unable to accept requests at this time.  Please continue to check the USCIS website for updates.
http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=f2ef2f19470f7310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=f2ef2f19470f7310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), please see: http://www.aila.org/content/fileviewer.aspx?docid=40156&linkid=248352

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who is eligible to receive deferred action under the Department's new directive?
In order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals must:
1.) Have come to the United States under the age of 16;
2.) Have continuously resided in the United States for at least 5 years preceding June 15, 2012, and are present in the United States on this date;
3.) Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4.) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
5.) Not be above the age of 30.

Individuals must also complete a background check and, for those individuals who make a request to USCIS and are not subject to a final order of removal, must be 15 years old or older.

What is deferred action?
Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an alien granted deferred action will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not absolve individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.

Under existing regulations, an individual who has been granted deferred action is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate "an economic necessity for employment." Deferred action can be terminated at any time at the agency's discretion or renewed by the agency.

How will the new directive be implemented?
Individuals who are not in removal proceedings or who are subject to a final order of removal will need to submit a request for a review of their case and supporting evidence to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Individuals may request deferred action if they meet the eligibility criteria. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process. This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new process should visit USCIS's website at http://www.uscis.gov.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, ICE will, in the coming weeks, announce the process by which qualified individuals may request a review of their case. Additional information is available from the ICE Office of the Public Advocate at http://www.ice.gov/about/offices/enforcement-removal-operations/publicadvocate. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the ICE hotline at 1-888-351-4024, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process.
For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria as part of ICE's case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

Are individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to the new directive eligible for employment authorization?
Yes. Pursuant to existing regulations, individuals who receive deferred action may apply for and may obtain employment authorization from USCIS provided they can demonstrate an economic necessity for their employment. Information about employment authorization requests is available on USCIS's website at http://www.uscis.gov/i-765.

Does the process result in permanent lawful status for beneficiaries?
No. The grant of deferred action under this new directive does not provide an individual with permanent lawful status or a pathway to obtaining permanent lawful status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the right to permanent lawful status.

Why will deferred actions only be granted for two years?
Grants of deferred action will be issued in increments of two years. At the expiration of the two year period, the grant of deferred action can be renewed, pending a review of the individual case.

If an individual's period of deferred action is extended, will individuals need to re-apply for an extension of their employment authorization?
Yes. If an individual applies for and receives an extension of the period for which he or she was granted deferred action, he or she must also request an extension of his or her employment authorization.

Does this policy apply to those who are subject to a final order of removal?
Yes. An individual subject to a final order of removal who can demonstrate that he or she meets the eligibility criteria can request a review of his or her case and receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. All cases will be considered on an individualized basis.

This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in this process. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with questions or to request more information on the new process.

How soon after USCIS receives a request to review a case will the individual receive a decision on his or her request?
USCIS will provide additional information on this issue in the coming weeks. Information will be made publicly available at http://www.uscis.gov/.

If an individual who is about to be removed by ICE believes he or she satisfies the eligibility criteria for the new process, what steps should he or she take to ensure his or her case is reviewed before removal?
Individuals who believe they can demonstrate that they satisfy the eligibility criteria and are about to be removed should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center's hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office's hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

If an individual who satisfies the eligibility criteria is encountered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or ICE, will he or she be placed into removal proceedings?
This policy is intended to allow ICE and CBP to focus on priority cases. Pursuant to the direction of the Secretary of Homeland Security, for individuals who satisfy the eligibility criteria, CBP or ICE should exercise their discretion to prevent them from being apprehended, placed into removal proceedings, or removed. If individuals, including individuals in detention, believe they were placed into removal proceedings in violation of this policy, they should contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center's hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate through the Office's hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by email athttp://www.uscis.gov/i-765

Will individuals be subject to background checks before they can receive an exercise of prosecutorial discretion?
Yes. All individuals will undergo biographic and biometric background checks prior to receiving an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Individuals who have been convicted of any felony, a significant misdemeanor offense, three or more misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety are not eligible to be considered for deferred action under the new process.

What do background checks involve?
Background checks involve checking biographic and biometric information provided by the individuals against a variety of databases maintained by DHS and other federal government agencies.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual came to the United States before the age of 16?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she came to the United States before the age of 16 includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual has resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she has resided in the United States for at five years immediately preceding June 15, 2012 includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual was physically present in the United States as of June 15, 2012?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she was physically present on June 15, 2012, the date the memorandum was issued, includes, but is not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records.

What documentation will be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a general education development certificate (GED)?
Documentation sufficient for an individual to demonstrate that he or she is currently in school, has graduated from high school, or has obtained a GED certificate includes, but is not limited to: diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts.

What steps will USCIS and ICE take to prevent fraud in the new processes?
An individual who knowingly makes a misrepresentation to USCIS or ICE, or knowingly fails to disclose facts to USCIS or ICE, in an effort to receive deferred action or work authorization in this new process will be treated as an immigration enforcement priority to the fullest extent permitted by law, subjecting the individual to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the United States.

Are individuals with a conviction for a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanors eligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
No. Individuals who have been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct are not eligible to be considered for deferred action under the new process.

What offenses qualify as a felony?
A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

What offenses qualify as a "significant misdemeanor"?
A significant misdemeanor is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or even no imprisonment that involves: violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, or fraud; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs.

How many non-significant misdemeanors constitute "multiple misdemeanors" making an individual ineligible for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under this new process?
An individual who is not convicted of a significant misdemeanor but is convicted of three or more other misdemeanors not occurring on the same day and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct is not eligible to be considered for deferred action under this new process.

Will there be supervisory review of decisions by ICE and USCIS under this process?
Yes. Both ICE and USCIS will develop protocols for supervisory review as part of their implementation of the new process.

Can individuals appeal a denial by ICE or USCIS of their request for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion under the new process?
No. Individuals may not appeal a denial by ICE or USCIS of their request for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. However, ICE and USCIS will develop protocols for supervisory review as part of their implementation of the new process. Although there is no right for appeal, individuals in removal proceedings who believe their cases were not correctly handled may contact the ICE Office of the Public Advocate either by phone at 1-888-351-4024 or by e-mail at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Will dependents and other immediate relatives of individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to this process also be eligible to receive deferred action?
No. The new process is available only to those who satisfy the eligibility criteria. As a result, the immediate relatives, including dependents, of individuals who receive deferred action pursuant to this process are not eligible to apply for deferred action as part of this process unless they independently satisfy the eligibility criteria.

If an individual's request to USCIS for deferred action is denied, will he or she be placed in removal proceedings?
For individuals whose requests for deferred action are denied by USCIS, USCIS will apply its existing Notice to Appear guidance governing USCIS's referral of cases to ICE and issuance of notices to appear. Under this guidance, individuals whose requests are denied under this process will be referred to ICE if they have a criminal conviction or there is a finding of fraud in their request.

Should individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe themselves to be eligible for an exercise of deferred action under this process seek to place themselves into removal proceedings through encounters with ICE or CBP?
No. Individuals who are not in removal proceedings but believe that they satisfy the eligibility criteria should submit their request for review of their case to USCIS under the procedures that USCIS will implement. This process is not yet in effect and requests should not be submitted at this time.

If I receive deferred action through this process, will I be able to travel outside the United States?
USCIS is exploring this issue and will resolve it in the coming weeks as part of its implementation plan.

Will there be any exceptions to the requirement that an individual must have resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012?
An individual must demonstrate that he or she has resided in the United States for a least five years preceding June 15, 2012. Brief and innocent absences undertaken for humanitarian purposes will not violate this requirement.

What should I do if I am eligible under this process and have been issued an ICE detainer following an arrest by a state or local law enforcement officer?
If you meet the eligibility criteria and have been served a detainer, you should immediately contact either the Law Enforcement Support Center's hotline at 1-855-448-6903 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or the ICE Office of the Public Advocate either through the Office's hotline at 1-888-351-4024 (staffed 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) or by e-mail at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Does deferred action provide individuals with a path to citizenship or permanent legal status?
No. A grant of deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that does not confer a path to citizenship or lawful permanent resident status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

Why isn't DHS allowing other individuals to request deferred action under this process?
As a general matter, young people who, through no fault of their own, were brought to this country as children, lacked the intent to violate the law and our ongoing review of pending removal cases is already offering administrative closure to many of them. However, additional measures are necessary to ensure that our enforcement resources are not expended on these low priority cases but are instead appropriately focused on people who meet our enforcement priorities.

Does this Administration remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform?
Yes. The Administration has consistently pressed for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act, because the President believes these steps are critical to building a 21st century immigration system that meets our nation's economic and security needs.

Is passage of the DREAM Act still necessary in light of the new process?
Yes. As the President has stated, individuals who would qualify for the DREAM Act deserve certainty about their status, and this new process does not provide that certainty. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the certainty that comes with a pathway to permanent lawful status.