As the President’s executive action on immigration rolls out, employers are wondering when they will start to see work permits issued to those covered by the President’s actions.  The short answer is: earliest would be springtime and more likely summer.  Two elements of the executive action on immigration are, an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and creation of a new program for undocumented immigrants in which they will also receive a work permit.  The latter being Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which is for those individuals living in the United States, without legal immigration status, who have been here at least five years and have a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child.  There are more requirements than that, but that’s the gist of DAPA.

Individuals who qualify for DACA and DAPA will be issued a work permit, valid for three years. Which means, potentially, up to 5 million individuals who will now be able to lawfully work in the United States.  For more on the President’s executive action on immigration click here.  For individuals wanting to know more about this administrative relief and legal assistance, check this website out.

But wait!  Up on Capitol Hill they don’t like what the President is doing because any changes to immigration laws fall in their bailiwick.  Never mind they have had years to address immigration reform but can’t pass a comprehensive measure.  Notwithstanding, you need to pay attention to what is happening in Congress and the impact it could have on the President’s executive action on immigration.

This week the House of Representative’s voted 236-191 to pass H.R. 240, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill.  Note that this is a must pass bill as funding for DHS expires February 27th.

The House made in order five amendments that defund the President’s executive actions on immigration.  The House passed (237-190) the Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta amendment, which would prevent any funds appropriated by H.R. 240 from being “used to implement, administer, enforce, or carry out (including through the issuance of any regulations) any of the policy changes set forth in” memoranda underlying and detailing the President’s executive action on immigration, or any future “substantially similar policy changes.”  The House also passed (218-209) the Blackburn amendment to prohibit funding from H.R. 240 for granting deportation relief to new, renewing, or previously denied applicants under DACA.  Democrats offered a motion, which was defeated, to send H.R. 240 back to committee to remove the immigration-related provisions and to add $300 million for fusion centers that coordinate local, state, and federal threat information.  Sen. John Thune (R-SD), leader of the Senate Republican Caucus, called the bill “the beginning of the process” for the Senate.  Some suggest that the Senate will not consider the bill much until February, focusing instead on the Keystone XL pipeline for much of the rest of January.  Thune added that the Senate amendment process will be “an effort to try and find six Dems to get to 60 [votes] on something that we could send back to the House that they would be able to take up and pass.”  Democrats want a “clean” bill that would avoid a lapse in DHS appropriations without immigration-related amendments.  CQ reports that Speaker Boehner (R-OH) has not ruled out such a possibility, saying his primary interest is to fund DHS and his secondary interest is in preventing the president’s “executive overreach.”  House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) announced his agenda today, saying his primary interest on immigration is to prevent the president from implementing his executive action on immigration.