One Park Plaza
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (213)383-3222
Fax: (213)365-9922
Do You Have an Immigration Problem, A Citizenship Question? Together, We'll Find A Solution
10/6/2021 Issue
           Plan “A” was to legalize 4 groups of non-citizens in the U.S., for a total of about 8 million people, through the Budget Reconciliation procedure. The Parliamentarian of the Senate shot it down, because it was too much of a change of policy and did not fit in with Budget reconciliation.

           Plan “B” was presented to the Parliamentarian last week. It was a simple update of Section 249 of the present Immigration Law.

           However, the Parliamentarian refused to approve this plan, too, for the same reasons for rejecting Plan “A”.

           It is called the REGISTRY Section.

Section 249 is a “magical” short section: it grants Legal Permanent Residency (LPR status), or Green Cards, to anybody who entered the U.S. before January 1, 1972 – and it does not matter how they entered, with a visa or without a visa, whether they have close relatives in the U.S. or no relatives, whether they are employed or not – if they stayed continuously in the U.S. since before 1/1/1972. There are very few grounds to deny a Green Card to a non-citizen who meets the “entry” requirement.

           For obvious “timing” reasons, there are very few people left in the U.S. who entered more than 49-50 years ago and still don’t have legal status.

           Plan “B” was to upgrade the cut-off entry date from 1/1/1972 to 1/1/2010. Meaning: anybody who entered the U.S. more than 11 – 12 years ago – whatever way of entry – and never left, would be granted LPR status.

           The Parliamentarian refused, again, to approve this plan, claiming that the number of beneficiaries would be almost the same as in Plan “A”, and such huge change of policy does not belong in a Budget reconciliation.


           A common feature of Plan “A” and Plan “B” was that they put their beneficiaries on a “path to citizenship”: they get Green Cards and after five (5) years could apply to become American citizens. This is what the Republican party cannot accept, because they believe that all new immigrants, as soon as they can, will vote for the Democrats.

           I believe that this “path to citizenship” is not really necessary. I believe that what most non-citizens want is the ability to stay and work legally in the U.S. and travel back and forth with no fear. Becoming a U.S. citizen is not their first priority.

           Plan “C” should be the grant of employment and stay permits, renewable every few years. It should be justified to the Parliamentarian on the basis of the financial benefits it would bring to the U.S. Treasury from improved tax collections, fee payments and increased economic activity.

           Path to Citizenship? Later. By another law. Maybe in Mr. Biden’s second term as President.


           The DACA program was introduced by the Obama Administration in June 2012, in the form of Guidelines to Immigration Officers. It never had the power of law enacted by Congress or even the authority of properly published Regulation. It was not surprising that a Federal Judge in Texas declared it an illegal program.
 Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finally published proposed regulations to make the DACA program an actual part of the immigration legal system. (This should have been done during the Obama presidency).

           The proposal formalizes the old guidelines and makes some changes in the fees required. The public is given 60 days till the end of November 2021, for comments. Then the DHS would publish the final Regulation.

           Even with a published Regulation, it does not mean that there would not be another round of lawsuits against DACA. But the program, at least, would have a solid, legal basis.


           U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) is the agency authorized to arrest non-citizens without permits to stay or work, to start removal cases by issuing Notices to Appear in Immigration Court (NTA), to deport non-citizens who have Orders of Removal. The lawyers who represent the government in Immigration court work for ICE. In short, ICE is the ENFORCEMENT arm of the Immigration System.

           It is the other agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that is responsible to adjudicate petitions and applications, to grant extensions of stay and adjustment of status (Green Cards).

           On September 20, 2021, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas, issued a Directive to the head of ICE with guidelines for arrests. The Directive states that the mere fact that somebody is an undocumented non-citizen, should not be reason for his or her arrest. ICE officers should consider the following priorities:

1.     Is the person a threat to NATIONAL SECURITY, such as a SPY or TERRORIST?

2.     Is the person a threat to PUBLIC SAFETY, such as being a SERIOUS CRIMINAL? When considering past criminal convictions, ICE officers should use their discretion to decide whether the circumstances of the criminal case as well as the circumstances of the person and his or her family justify an arrest and a deportation case.

3.     Is the person a threat to BORDER SECURITY, such as being arrested while attempting to enter illegally, or if entered the U.S. after November 1, 2020. In all events, ICE officers should use their discretion to decide whether an arrest or removal case is necessary.

My advice to clients? If you are confronted by ICE officers, do not try to evade them and never lie to officers. Have some proof that you have been in the U.S. since before 11/1/2020. And, of course, don’t commit any crimes.
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-3222