The Obama Administration recently announced on August 18, 2011, the creation of a joint committee made up of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice that will review nearly 300,000 immigration cases currently in removal proceedings. The committee will determine which cases are “low priority” and can be administratively closed.
While this is a positive step, it is important for immigrants to know that the Obama administration announcement is not an amnesty, it does not grant legal status, and it is not something you can sign up for.
The announcement does not provide any way to “apply” for a work permit or Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”). Nor does the announcement provide a new way to apply to remain in the United States. The change announced is not about giving people work permits or legal status. The announcement applies only to cases already in the system, ensuring that low priority cases do not continue to clog up an already overburdened immigration court system.
It is therefore important not to believe anyone who claims they can sign you up for a work permit or EAD or get you legal status based on this announcement. Anyone who says this should not be trusted.
There is no “safe” way to turn yourself in to immigration and there is no guarantee that your case will be considered “low priority.” Any person who comes into contact with immigration authorities may be arrested, detained or even removed.
Even if a friend, neighbor or coworker encourages you to act, do not try to contact immigration authorities or fall for a scam. At this time, there is no application to fill out, no form that can be filed, no filing fee that can be paid and no guidance from immigration authorities at all as to how the review of cases will happen.
Remember: Only a qualified immigration attorney can evaluate your case and advise you regarding your rights.
Do not seek legal advice from an immigration consultant or notario.
This article is for general informational purposes only, it is neither legal advice, nor is it intended to be legal advice; and it is not an exclusive statement of statutory or regulatory provisions or case law. Any questions should be submitted to an attorney for his/her analysis.