LAA to hold public information sessions on Obama’s immigration overhaul

The Latin American Association is preparing to hold two information sessions at its Atlanta office Saturday for people seeking more information about the sweeping immigration overhaul President Barack Obama announced this week.

The events are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the LAA, 2750 Buford Highway Northeast. The LAA bills itself as the largest provider of social and immigration legal services for the Latin American community in Atlanta.

Here are the key parts of Obama’s plan:

• The centerpiece provides work permits and three-year deportation deferrals for people who don’t have legal status but do have children who were born here or are legal permanent residents. To be eligible, they must have lived in the U.S. for more than five years, submit to background checks and pay taxes. More than 4 million people would be eligible nationwide.

• Obama’s initiative also expands a program granting temporary deportation deferrals and work permits to immigrants who were illegally brought here as children. The move will eliminate the age cap in the program – now at 31 – and require them to have continually resided in the U.S. from January of 2010 to the present, a change from June of 2007. The White House estimated 270,000 more people will qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

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• The Obama administration is also sharpening the focus of its immigration enforcement on people with serious criminal convictions and those who have recently crossed the border illegally. Further, the government is will replace a federal fingerprint-sharing program called Secure Communities with a system that matches the administration’s new enforcement priorities.

• Lastly, the Obama administration is preparing to revamp its legal immigration system. A new program would allow foreign entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. if they can demonstrate they are backed by investors and will create jobs here. There will also be new benefits for foreigners who are studying science and technology in the U.S. and who wish to stay here.

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