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New executive order does not grant lawful permanent residency

After the announcement of the new executive order regarding immigration, there has been much confusion regarding what it does exactly. One thing it does not do is grant lawful permanent residency to undocumented residents. However, it does provide some relief concerning the fear of imminent deportation. The order is meant to provide protection to families both here in North Carolina and elsewhere.

Altogether, the order addresses three main issues related to undocumented residents. The first action taken was to delay deportation for approximately 4 million people for a three-year period. In order to qualify for the deferment, the applicant must be the parent of a legal resident or citizen, have been in the country for at least five years and have no criminal record. This action also removes the age restriction that was in place for the DREAM Act.

The second issue that the order covers will re-prioritize the individuals whom customs officials will detain. Only those deemed a threat to national security, or who have a felony conviction history or have recently entered the country without documents, will be subject to detainment and deportation. The order will also look at ways to broaden some categories of visas and simplify the process for others.

Other than not granting lawful permanent residency, the order also does not provide deferment for any parents of undocumented children, including the children who came across from Central America earlier this year. It does, however, offer a measure of comfort to those who have been here for several years and have possibly feared deportation and separation from their lawful children. North Carolina residents who still encounter difficulties, or are unclear as to how this order affects them, do have the right to seek assistance from local resources experienced in immigration laws.

Source: USA Today, "Obama's immigrant reform action - what it means", Bob Ortega, Nov. 20, 2014

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