On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of unprecedented executive actions to reform the US immigration system, including the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the establishment of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. An estimated 5.4 million persons met the eligibility criteria for temporary status and employment authorization under the DAPA program (3.9 million) and the original and expanded DACA programs (1.5 million).
The announcement of the DAPA and expanded DACA programs mobilized a large, nationally coordinated initiative, under the rubric of the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI), to plan for these programs and (ultimately) for a broader legalization program. The CIRI initiative has concentrated on expanding the capacity of community-based immigrant service agencies, maximizing the use to technology to educate the public and to provide the tools to allow unauthorized immigrants to assess their eligibility for relief, fighting the exploitation of immigrants by unscrupulous notarios, and strengthening partnerships in communities nationwide.
In an important new report published in the Journal on Migration and Human Security, CIRI’s Human Resources Working Group details the human and financial resources that will be needed to build community capacity in order to coordinate the successful implementation of a large-scale legalization program. Drawing on lessons from the Immigrant Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), DACA, and other initiatives, the paper provides a road map for implementation of administrative and legislative immigration reform.
The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) convened the lead authors of this report to discuss their key finding related to the capacity and funding needs of community-based immigrant-service agencies. They discussed next steps for the CIRI network, including the substantial populations of unauthorized immigrants that the CIRI network plans to serve, notwithstanding delays in implementation of DAPA and expanded DACA and the absence of Congressional action on immigration.
To download the report, “Immigration Reform and Administrative Relief for 2014 and Beyond: A Report on Behalf of the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation (CIRI), Human Resources Working Group,” visit http://jmhs.cmsny.org/index.php/jmhs/article/view/53.
Center for Migration Studies
Senior Cabinet Advisor, National Council of La Raza
Resident Fellow, Migration Policy Institute
Associate Director, Practice & Professionalism
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Managing Attorney, Capacity Building