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Obama signs executive order on immigrant children

Undocumented individuals younger than 31 on June 15, 2012 who came to the United States as children under the age of 16 may be able to avoid deportation for two years if they meet the requirements of a new program the U.S. government announced on June 15. If qualified, they may also apply for work permits. The directive, which mirrors part of the DREAM Act legislation, was issued by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last Friday. President Barack Obama signed the Executive Order in response to continued calls by advocates of immigration reform to slow down enforcement on non-criminal aliens and separating families.

OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone responded that the administration’s actions reflect a response to a lack of positive movement on comprehensive immigration reform in the US Congress. “States are passing more enforcement oriented legislation which is impacting families throughout the United States,” Stone said, “it remains to be seen if this move will spur Congress to finally take up reform and get to work after 20 years of failing to act.” Stone added that the DREAM Act is only part of a comprehensive solution which also entails dealing with border security, strong employer guidelines, adjusting status of those who are currently undocumented in the country, and having a workable system to allow a future flow of workers when the economy begins to recover.

Ron Guerra, an employment law attorney with Jordan Ramis PC who advises clients on immigration law compliance urged caution when it comes to informing employees about this new program. “Since employers are required to establish the identity and employment verification of its workforce, encouraging employees to take advantage of this new program for family members may signal that the employer actually knows that the employee is not lawfully present in the U.S.,” he stated in a recent article.

The OAN has had numerous labor briefings for members over the past year. OAN members can receive up to 30 minutes per month of free legal consultation through Jordan Ramis PC and the OAN Legal Access benefit. For details, call Jordan Ramis at 503-598-5540 and have your membership number ready.

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