New DAPA challenge a reminder of challenges immigrants face in seeking work authorization

Obtaining authorization to work in the United States is not necessarily an easy process to navigate. Working with an experienced immigration law attorney helps ensure one has solid guidance and zealous advocacy.

Obtaining authorization to work in the United States is not necessarily an easy process to navigate. Working with an experienced immigration law attorney helps ensure one has solid guidance and zealous advocacy.

New DAPA challenge a reminder of challenges immigrants face in seeking work authorization

Recently, the viability of President Obama's 2014 plan to protect millions of immigrants from deportation received a shot of energy when a lawsuit was filed to challenge the validity of a court order which successfully blocked it. President Obama's plan, also known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), would have allowed as many as four million undocumented immigrants-particularly parents of American citizens as well as law-abiding undocumented immigrants-to secure work authorization had it not been struck down by a Texas court in 2015.

The Texas ruling, when it went up to the Supreme Court back in June, was upheld due to a deadlocked decision. As a deadlock, the ruling provided no rationale for the decision, though oral arguments focused on whether the president had the authority to implement such a sweeping immigration policy. That ruling could be overturned, though, if the court decides to rehear the case once it replaces Justice Antonin Scalia.

Several tracks available for work authorization

Obtaining authorization to work in the United States can be a confusing process as there are so many classifications and the requirements for each classification are variable. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are several available tracks in terms of work authorization. One applies to those who are temporarily in the United States and who work in a specialty occupation. Such individuals may be able to obtain temporary work authorization if they meet certain requirements. There are numerous classifications with different requirements for nonimmigrant workers, and it is important to select the proper classification and fulfill each requirement.

Another track applies to those who are living permanently in the United States and who have special skills, education and work experience. These employment-based immigrant visas fall into a handful of distinct categories. In some of these categories, an applicant must already have a job offer from an employer who sponsors the visa, while other categories require certification from the Department of Labor that there are not enough U.S. workers to fill the position and that hiring a foreign worker does not adversely affect wages and working conditions for U.S. workers in similar positions.

A third track for work authorization applies to those who have student visas, and involves two nonimmigrant visa categories. The conditions these categories place on nonimmigrant students with respect to work are different, and it is important for applicants to understand these restrictions and make the right selection.

Work with experienced advocate to navigate the process

The chance to obtain legal work in the United States can be a great opportunity, and working with an experienced attorney to navigate the process can help ensure that one has guidance and advocacy navigating the requirements and effectively handling any issues that arise in the process. This is especially important when an immigration dispute arises and must be dealt with in the court system.

Keywords: Immigration, Work authorization, executive action