The Obama Administration announcement is NOT an amnesty – Why the confusion?

Client walked into the office and demanded info about the new Obama amnesty.”I need to apply as soon as possible and hope you can help me.” Where did you hear about amnesty, I asked. A local paralegal told me about it and told me to put a deposit down and the price might go up.

Ever since the 8-18 announcement, similar inquiries come in and I fear this is not the end of it. So what can prospects do, check and double check.

The Obama Administration announcement is NOT an amnesty, it is NOT about granting legal status, and is NOT something that you can sign-up for!
The Obama Administration made very clear that the announcements do NOT provide any way to “apply” for a work permit or “EAD” nor is there 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.

Do NOT believe anyone who tells you they can sign you up for a work permit (Employment Authorization Document or “EAD”) or get you legal status based on the Secretary Napolitano’s August 18, 2011 announcement! Anyone who says that is not to 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.

Only a QUALIFIED IMMIGRATION LAWYER can evaluate your case and tell
your about your rights. Do NOT seek legal advice from a notario or immigration consultant.

What the new policy IS:

The Obama Administration announced the creation of a high-level working group made up of Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice officials who are to do the following:
 Review all cases already pending before the immigration courts. Those that are
considered “low priority” may be administratively closed. Those that are considered a “high priority” will be prosecuted more aggressively.

 There are no rules or guarantees that a particular type of case will be considered a “low” or “high” priority. Recent guidelines are helpful, but no one can tell you if your case is a low priority–only immigration authorities will make that decision.

 In the future, immigration authorities will review the cases people before they are
placed in removal proceedings. Those that are “low priority” may not be referred
to the immigration court.

 Create department-wide guidance to help USCIS, CBP, and ICE agents and officers make better, more consistent decisions about who to place in removal proceedings.

 Issue guidance on providing discretion in compelling cases for persons who
already have a final order of removal.

In other words, the August 18th announcement was preliminary and nothing has been implemented yet. Any details about how the review process will work, what cases will be considered low priority or how to have a particular case considered have not been decided.

The best course of action is to consult an immigration lawyer or accredited representative, not to take action because a friend, neighbor or coworker encourages you to act.