NNAAC welcomes President Obama's actions on immigration

The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) welcomes President Barack Obama’s announcement outlining the executive actions he will take on immigration. We fought, rallied and signed petitions for years and we are proud of all of the work that brought us to this announcement.

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President Barack Obama works on his immigration speech with Director of Speechwriting Cody Keenan and Senior Presidential Speechwriter David Litt in the Oval Office, Nov. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

We welcome the inclusion of millions of undocumented workers and families who will be given the opportunity to work and support their families without fear of deportation. We agree with President Obama when he said we should be deporting “felons not families, criminals not children,” because hardworking immigrants who have made this country home and their children should not be punished for seeking a better life.
Highlights of the announcement:
  1. You must meet strict requirements to qualify for relief from deportation
    • Eligible immigrants will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization if they come forward and pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, pay a fee, and show that they are: · A parent of US citizens or lawful permanent residents on the date of the announcement, are not enforcement priorities and have been in the US since January 1, 2010, or · An individual who arrived in the US before turning 16 years old and before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today Additionally, we are reducing the time that families are separated while obtaining their green cards. Undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents or sons or daughters of US citizens can apply to get a waiver if a visa is available.
  2. You cannot apply for several months
    • The U.S. government and specifically USCIS – will not begin accepting applications until early 2015. While the government is not accepting applications now, if you believe you are eligible for one or more of the initiatives, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish your identity, relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident and show that you have continuously lived in the US for 5 years or more. See more here.  
We also recognize that this announcement excludes millions of others who do not fit into the categories that the President laid out. We recommit today to the fight to pass comprehensive immigration reform. We need long term change and will not rest until every undocumented person in our country is offered an earned pathway to citizenship.
Our NNAAC member agencies across the country will have up-to-date information as this executive action process is implemented. We caution community members from some attorneys and notaries who will likely take advantage of this announcement. Be vigilant and stay informed.   
Please visit www.nnaac.org or www.uscis.gov for more information.
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