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Semirog Law Firm, pllc is a personal injury and auto accidents law firm located in Charlotte and Matthews, North Carolina.   We are committed to providing quality legal services in a dedicated and cost-effective manner to all members of our community, regardless of race, gender, or national origin.

We have handled complicated litigation in the areas of personal injury, car wrecks, truck accidents, family and business law.  In addition, we have experience in real estate law and short-sale negotiations.

We offer standard and flexible billing arrangements for our clients, such as flat fee billing, hourly billing, and contingency fee billing depending on the type of legal matter.

Immigration - Details

On November 20, 2014, President Obama outlined a series of executive actions related to immigration reform.  

Let's address some of the main questions we have received from clients since the announcement:


The President announced a number of steps through administrative actions to be implemented by the Departments of Homeland Security.  None of the changes rely on congressional approval. The program has four major components:

Enforcement prioritization: The Administration will prioritize border enforcement and focus interior enforcement mainly on individuals who pose security risks;  the implication is that the flow of new unauthorized border-crossers could decrease, while enforcement for most unauthorized immigrants already in the US would be diminished.

Incremental expansion of work visa programs: The program would incrementally expand immigration of skilled workers, by

  1. allowing spouses of H1-B visa (high-skilled) workers to work if they have a green card application pending;
  2. allowing high-skilled workers to change jobs more easily;
  3. "modernizing" the requirements for L-1 visas, which allows companies to transfer existing employees to US offices (this is an important program for parts of the technology industry);
  4. granting green cards or temporary status to individuals with "exceptional ability" or inventors, researchers, and founders of start-up enterprises, and
  5. expanding the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which allows students graduating from US universities to work for up to 29 months in the US following graduation.

Expansion of existing deferred action program: The President's executive order would expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  The program was established in 2012 to allow unauthorized immigrants born after 1981 who arrived in the US prior to age 16 to avoid removal and to gain work authorization.  To qualify, individuals must also be at least 15 years old at the time of application and have graduated from high school.  Under current rules, one must have lived in the US continuously since 2007 to qualify, but the Obama Administration is now changing the cutoff date to 2010, and lifting the age requirements. 

Establishment of new deferred action program: Under a new program known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), unauthorized immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents (i.e., green card holders) and who have been in the country for more than five years can receive relief from deportation and work authorization for three years, subject to a background check and a $465 fee.


  • Protects you from being arrested and deported for three years and can be renewed;
  • Provides an employment authorization document that will allow you to work legally;
  • Allows you to apply for a social security number;
  • In almost all states, you will be able to qualify for a driver’s license;
  • In many states, you will be able to qualify for instate tuition;
  • You may be able to apply to the government for a travel document that will allow you to leave and return to the U.S.


Approvals for deferred action are likely to begin in Q2 or Q3 2015.  From the time the President announced the original DACA program in 2012, it took two months to begin accepting applications and four months for approvals to begin in earnest.  This time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has set a deadline in February to begin accepting applications for the expanded DACA program, and in May for applications under the new DAPA program.  Assuming two months to process the applications, work authorizations under the new programs seem likely to start being granted in Q2 or Q3 2015.

Q: When will USCIS begin accepting applications related to these executive initiatives?

While USCIS is not accepting applications at this time, individuals who think they may be eligible for one or more of the new initiatives may prepare now by gathering documentation that establishes factors such as their:

  • Identity;
  • Relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and
  • Continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.

USCIS expects to begin accepting applications for the:

  • Expanded DACA program approximately 90 days after the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement; and
  • Deferred action for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability) approximately 180 days after the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement. 

Others programs will be implemented after new guidance and regulations are issued.


In all, the changes look likely to affect around 5 million unauthorized immigrants plus 100k to 200k skilled workers.  The changes to the existing DACA program look likely to increase the eligible population by about 300k, based on estimates by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). Working-age adults would account for most of this increase.  The new deferred action program for parents of citizens would have a larger effect.  Estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center and MPI suggest that, as of 2012, 3.1 to 3.3 million unauthorized immigrants had lived in the US for at least five years and had minor children who were citizens or held green cards.  However, since the DAPA program also covers parents of adults who are US citizens or permanent residents, the total universe of eligible immigrants may be somewhat greater.

The effect on the number of skilled immigrants with work authorization is somewhat less clear, but the new policies look likely to apply to 100k to 200k individuals in the first year.  According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), around 125k foreign students were approved to work through the OPT program on average in 2013, but only 25k of these took advantage of the longer 29-month work period for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates. Details of the changes being contemplated are not yet available, but even if the STEM program doubled it would only add 25k.  DHS estimates that authorizing the spouses of H1-B workers to work would increase the number of potential workers by about 100k at the outset and by about 30k per year thereafter, and that about 10k individuals would take advantage of the new entrepreneurial visa each year.

Next steps

USCIS and other agencies and offices are responsible for implementing these initiatives as soon as possible.  Some initiatives will be implemented over the next several months and some will take longer.

Over the coming months, USCIS will produce detailed explanations, instructions, regulations and forms as necessary.  The brief summaries provided here offer basic information about each initiative. 

While USCIS is not accepting requests or applications at this time, if you believe you may be eligible for one of the initiatives listed above, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish factors such as your:

  • Identity;
  • Relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and
  • Continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.


More Information Here:

Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security



By Serge SemirogGoogle +