Amnesty is a process for allowing illegal immigrants to gain legal status and remain in the United States. Numerous bills, including the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), have been proposed in the last decade to allow undocumented immigrants to apply for amnesty, remain in the United States, and eventually gain legal immigration status. If you need deportation help, contact a deportation lawyer to find out which laws apply to you.
Advocates of immigration amnesty programs claim that such programs would discourage illegal immigration and would make the country safer by allowing authorities to track all immigrants.
Advocates also believe that immigration amnesty is the more compassionate choice, as it would allow families to stay together. Currently, some children who were born in the United States and are, therefore, United States citizens, have parents who are in the country illegally. For these families, lack of help for undocumented immigrants creates potential for the destruction of family units.
Opponents of the programs say that they send the wrong message about immigration.
They claim that allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for amnesty is an affront to immigrants who have applied correctly and have been turned down. By allowing certain immigrants to gain legal status, some claim the US is sending the message that illegal immigration is okay and will not be punished. They also believe that the cost of allowing undocumented immigrants to reside in the country openly would burden the states with greater educational costs and increase competition for available jobs at a time when unemployment is still elevated.
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of Executive Actions that changed the deportation process, including:
Expanding eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to people of any current age who entered the United States before the age of 16, and have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010; and, extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years.
A new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program that allowed parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, provided they had lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010 and passed required background checks expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence, to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of United States citizens.
Modernizing, improving, and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs to grow our economy and create jobs promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents, and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee. Opponents of the executive action denounced them as being, in effect, a grant of amnesty to undocumented immigrants. Application for DAPA was scheduled to begin on May 19, 2015, but a successful legal challenge by Texas and a number of other states caused it to be suspended.
What this means to you is that, if you are in the country illegally and wish to apply for immigration amnesty and avoid the deportation process, your best option is to speak with a qualified immigration attorney. An attorney can advise you of your rights and suggest a course of action that may allow you to eventually gain legal immigration status.