Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Executive Action

Top 10 Ways You Can Prepare for Executive Action on Immigration

NOVEMBER 21, 2014 | Versión en español

Also available in: Chinese – simplified | Chinese – traditional | Korean  |  Portuguese  |  Vietnamese

On November 20, 2014, the president announced his administration’s plan to allow certain undocumented Americans to come forward and apply for work authorization and protection from deportation. Although the program hasn’t officially started, and there isn’t an application form yet, you can begin preparing now.

1.  Save money (at least $465).

Immigration applications are expensive. It costs $465 to apply for deferred action under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The new program could cost even more. So start saving now or talking to your local credit union to see if you can get a low-interest loan.

2.  Get proof of who you are.

You will have to prove who you are. Here are a few forms of ID that could be helpful:

  • a passport from your home country
  • a matrícula consular or other type of government-issued ID
  • a birth certificate with photo ID

3.  Gather proof of your relationship to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) family members.

The program could require that you have a spouse or child who is a U.S. citizen or LPR (someone who has a “green card”). To prove that you have a relative with this status, gather:

  • birth certificates
  • marriage certificates
  • your spouse or child’s U.S. passport or naturalization certificate
  • your spouse or child’s green card

4.  Gather proof of how long you have been in the U.S.

You likely will have to show how long you have been in the U.S. These are some documents that can help you show this:

  • school records
  • medical or hospital records
  • letters
  • bills (electricity, phone, gas, etc.)
  • rent payment receipts
  • passport with admission stamp
  • copies of money order receipts
  • bank transactions

5.  Gather any criminal records that you have.

We don’t know yet who will and who won’t qualify for the new program. People with certain types of criminal convictions may not qualify.

It’s best to get a copy of your criminal records so that you can show them to an attorney and get advice on whether you should apply. Criminal records include:

6.  If you have a criminal conviction, check with an attorney to see if you can expunge, vacate, or modify this conviction.

It’s possible that you can change or “erase” your conviction.  There are different ways to do this. Even if this doesn’t help you qualify for the program, it may help to have a conviction deleted from your record.

7.  If you have a prior deportation or removal order, check with an attorney or BIA-accredited representative.

It might be risky for people who have prior deportation or removal orders to apply for the new program.

Talk to an attorney or BIA-accredited representative to figure out whether you should apply and whether you can reopen your old immigration case. (BIA-accredited representatives can be found at nonprofit organizations that help people with immigration matters.)

8.  Stay informed. Sign up to receive updates from NILC!

As we receive more news about the president’s executive action, we will share them with you. We will also share materials and information about webinars. Sign up for NILC’s Immigration Issues list to receive these updates by email.

9.  Know your rights!

ICE or local law enforcement can stop you at any time, especially if you have not yet gotten work authorization. Not everyone will qualify for the new program so they should know what to say and what not to say when stopped.

Learn more about your rights at home and at work. Be prepared for an ICE raid by carrying a know-your-rights card.

10.  Beware of notario fraud!

There is no program yet and no application yet. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that they can sign you up now for a program.