USCIS has issued a notice about the steps that it is taking to implement President Obama’s immigration executive action with regard to deferred action, provisional waivers and the modernization of legal immigration.  HOLD ON!  Nothing is yet in place.  The closest to launch are the DACA and DAPA provisions.  USCIS says that it will accept enhanced DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) requests after February 18, 2015. 

 The grant of DACA deferred action and employment authorization will be increased from 2 to 3 years for undocumented immigrants who:

 *entered the US before age 16 ,

 *have lived in the US continuously since January 1, 2010 (the earlier program had a June 15,2007 cut off)

 *are of ANY age (the earlier program was for those 31 or younger) and

 *meet the standards for USCIS discretionary grant of DACA.

 *there are other details but these are the headlines.

 DAPA is deferred action for parents of US citizen or permanent resident children.  USCIS says this program, which could benefit more than 4 million people, will be available in May 2015.  The details are still not published but these parents would be able to request deferred action and employment authorization, if they:

 *have lived in the US continuously since January 1, 2010

 *had a qualifying child on November 20, 2014

 *are not an enforcement priority and

 *meet the other standards required for this discretionary largess.

 The initiatives that will modernize our immigration system look very encouraging, but the USCIS immigration executive action Notice answers the question of When? with “Upon issuing necessary guidance and regulations.”   At least the programs for the undocumented are progressing from the President’s November 20, 2014 announcement into action.

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Robert S. Whitehill is Chair of the Immigration Group at Fox Rothschild LLP.  He may be reached at