President Obama’s Nov. 20 announcement that he would take executive action to protect about 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation set off a political firestorm, but the plan will affect relatively few employers.
The most significant provisions of the executive action only affect employers that hire undocumented workers. That’s still illegal, and there won’t be a let up on I-9 enforcement.
The action does delay U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) efforts to deport illegal immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents, as well as their children. Those people would be eligible to apply for green cards, allowing them to apply for work permits.
Other parts of the executive action would make it easier for a limited number of high-tech employers to obtain work visas for highly qualified foreign-born employees to work in the U.S.
USCIS will soon begin efforts to streamline the H-1B temporary visa program that employers use to bring in skilled workers from other nations. Currently, it can take several years for workers to obtain visas because of a decades-old quota system that limits availability. The system has also been plagued by processing backlogs.
Find details in this Department of Homeland Security memorandum.