Since the so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform is dead till the next president assumes power in January 2017 (while it is too early, but the expectation is that in the 2014 mid term elections, the GOP will most likely not only retain control of the house, but will do so with a bigger majority, and there are some models showing that it might regain control of the Senate, or at least reduce the number of seats Democrats now control). So unless the Democrats do well in 2016 elections, it is difficult to see how undocumented immigrants will be able to legalize their status. And because the Democrats need to do something to get the Latino vote in 2014 (and hopefully at least keep their small majority in the Senate -- no amount of Hispanic vote can change the House of Representatives), President Barack Obama is considering what can be legally done to help those aliens who are illegally in the United States, pretty much like he helped a small group of so-called DREAMers by implementing a Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals or DACA (this does not give them legal immigration status but stops their deportation and allows them to work legally with some freedom to travel outside the United States). Since it is absolutely critical for an immigrant to have been present the whole time in the United States, anyone deported will typically not be eligible for any kind of legalization, so such programs help people stay in the country in the hope that some kind of reform might happen in the future.
What will happen after the review is completed? Of course, the review is just a fancy name for what has already been pretty much decided. The idea behind using the term 'review' is to create a legal cover for executive action by the President. The Administration also wants to make sure that enough legal scholars are consulted so that if the program is announced, a court will not strike it down as unconstitutional (contrary to demands by some undocumented immigrant groups, the President cannot make anyone legal or give them green cards or make them citizens -- in fact, any deferral of deportations will be temporary till the last day he is the president, and if the next president is a Republican, he can revoke all the permits and deferrals). Based on the information leaking out of Washington DC, this is what is likely to happen: if you are illegally in the United States (either because you overstayed your visa or crossed the border illegally), and have not been convicted of a felony and have maximum of three misdemeanors, you will be approved. You will not be penalized for stealing Social Security numbers, or for failing to file income taxes, or for using fake papers to work. No back taxes will be required to be paid. There will be extra points if you have an immediate family member (meaning spouse, child or parent) who is a US citizen or permanent resident.
How will I apply for the work permit and deferred action? It is expected that the USCIS will administer the program and require you to complete two or three forms. So, it is recommended that you prepare for this program by getting a
valid passport from your native country and start collecting evidence of
your stay in the United States like leases, bank statements, utility
bills, etc. The fee is expected to approximately $500 per person and a small discount for minors (in other words, if you are tight with money, start saving by cutting back on entertainment and shopping). Once you submit the paperwork, you will be fingerprinted and a background security check will be done to confirm your identity and find out about your criminal background. Your approval will give you an employment authorization card (EAD) that you can use to apply for a real SSN at the local SSA office. Using both, you will be able to work anywhere in the country for any job, except for the government.