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Details emerge about executive order to help illegal immigrants

One month ago, we mentioned a change in immigration policy that has the potential to affect many immigrants here in North Carolina as well as across the country. That change involves an executive order signed by President Obama that allows qualifying illegal immigrants to work in the country for at least two years and perhaps longer if they obtain an extension.

Preliminary details about the order and how immigrants will have to apply to receive its benefits have been released in an internal Department of Homeland Security paper. First, it appears that the application window will open on Aug. 15. At that time, illegal immigrants can file for a work permit as well as submit the required documentation, called the Request for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Once the paperwork is received, the government has created a timetable that describes how long it expects to take processing it. After Homeland Security receives an application, it will take two to 10 days to process and file it. Within four weeks, an immigrant will have to set a date to take photographs and provide fingerprints. During the succeeding six weeks, the government will conduct a background check on the applicant. After those steps are completed, the government will rule on the application, which could take three months. There is the possibility that the process could move faster, however.

It appears that immigrants will have to include a $465 fee to offset processing costs, but Janet Napolitano, current Secretary of Homeland Security, said that the fee could be waived in exceptional cases. The government believes that over 1 million people will submit applications during the program's first year. Of that number, an estimated 890,000 could have their applications approved.

Source: Associated Press, "DHS: Deportation proposal could cost $585 million," Alicia A. Caldwell, July 24, 2012.

• Obtaining the right to live and work in the U.S. can be complicated. If you would like more information about our firm's practice, please visit our Greensboro family immigration page.

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