Immigration Overhaul Announced Millions Allowed to Remain in the U.S. Legally

With the November election now over, the one thing that groups on both sides of the political aisle can’t stop talking about is Obama’s immigration overhaul. The planned reform, which was announced by the Obama administration on Thursday, November 21st, will affect hundreds of thousands of immigrants across the country. If you’re an immigrant in Boston facing deportation, or if you have questions about the visa process, you should consult with a Boston immigration attorney immediately.

Announcement Affects the Lives of Millions

The most notable part of the immigration reform announced last Thursday was the deportation stay that will affect 4.7 million immigrants currently within the U.S. The 4.7 million immigrants  – who are parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, according to an article published in Reuters – will be allowed to do more than temporarily stay in the U.S.; rather, the immigrants will also have the ability to legally apply for jobs. While voting privileges will still remain withheld, as will the ability to qualify under Obama’s health insurance program, the fact that undocumented immigrants will be able to obtain legal work will help them to more smoothly transition into American society.

A Good Step, Bad Reactions

While many people are applauding Obama’s decision with glee and gratitude, chanting “Si se puede” at the overhaul’s announcement (“Yes we can!”), others are shaking their heads and pumping their fists with frustration. In fact, the executive action taken by Obama was done as a result of House republicans refusing to take action on an immigration bill presented to Congress earlier in the year. According to The New York Times, a backlash from republicans is on its way, as republicans consider the move to be a “tyrannical usurpation of congressional authority by ‘Emperor’ Obama.”

 More changes to come?

The future of immigration reform is still unknown. While the President’s executive action to allow the 4.7 million to remain and work legally within the country is a step in the right direction, thousands more immigrants continue to enter then U.S. every year, many after attempting to do so lawfully and meeting a wall within the immigration and visa system. A pause on deportations is a good thing, but an overhaul of the entire system seems to be a looming necessity. Other actions that the Obama administration plans to take include allowing more DREAMers to stay within the country (undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children), improving border security, announcing a package of court reforms, and creating a White House Task Force on New Americans to create a “federal strategy on immigrant integration.”

For Immigrants in Boston, an Immigration Attorney Can Help

While the announced reform granted amnesty for 4.7 million immigrants, there are currently more than 11 undocumented immigrants currently living within the United States. For those who aren’t covered by the deportation stay, deportation and other legal consequences can be a scary thought. If you’re an immigrant living in Boston who has questions about your legal rights, how to apply for a visa, how to fight deportation, or anything else regarding your immigrant status, Boston immigration attorney Josh Goldstein can help you.