Immigration has been one of America’s biggest conundrums for years. Finding the perfect balance of prioritizing citizenship and deportation seemed like an impossible goal-until recently, that is. On November 20, 2014, President Obama addressed the nation in what quickly became one of his most watched speeches. Citizens and noncitizens alike listened in for the long-awaited changes to our very broken immigration system.
But why do so many consider the country’s immigration system to be broken? Even more importantly, will the President’s plans be enough to deliver lasting change?
Slow Breakdowns Lead to Massive Problems
It may not have been very apparent as the months and years went on, but immigration laws that once passed with flying colors have slowly regressed overtime. Specifically, the issue of border control. According to recent findings, one apprehension at the border cost just $238 in 1990. More than 20 years later, that same form of apprehension costs $10,431.
While the Border Control’s budget has swiftly increased, statistics make it clear that the apprehensions being made are rapidly decreasing. The problem of priorities is very evident at the border and President Obama plans to fix that.
Furthermore, immigrants are finding it nearly impossible to become a resident of the United States, let alone a naturalized citizen. These are the people contributing to society just as much as anyone else and yet they cannot legally experience the benefits of being a U.S. citizen. Denials of naturalization petitions are growing more common, particularly in relation to the number of people filing them.
It is also extremely difficult for someone without a relative already in the U.S. to get permanent residency, even if they have noteworthy skills and abilities. In fact, denial rates for L-1B visa applicants have taken increased by leaps and bounds since the 1990s.
The Problems Are Evident – Now What?
President Obama essentially established five different areas for reform within the immigration system. If all goes according to plan, up to five million immigrants could be positively impacted by these changes.
The following changes are intended to fix America’s broken system:
- Expanding the eligibility pool for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as increasing work authorization from two years to three
- Establishing a Deferred Action for Parents of Americans & Lawful Permanent Residents Program for those who meet the requirements
- Creating more jobs for lawful immigrants
- Allowing more people to use provisional waivers of unlawful presence
- Encouraging citizenship education and positive awareness for lawful permanent residents
Although some of these announcements have since gone into effect since President Obama’s speech, others are still being developed. Regardless, it is critical that you find out how these changes impact you and what they could mean for the future of your family. For personal legal representation and assistance as you pursue the life you deserve, contact Foley Law Offices. As a Boston immigration attorney with more than 20 years of experience, I am eager to represent you!