Muy busy. Lots of people asking about the effect of President Obama's announcement Thursday. The short version is: did you come here as a kid, or do you have kids with green cards or who were born here? Have you been here for years? Got a clean criminal record? Then you might be eligible for something called 'deferred action' status and a 3-year work permit.
Someone called it amnesty this morning and I laughed. Amnesty would be the program implemented under President Reagan, which granted temporary residency and then lawful permanent residency (green cards) to people. This is just a decision (in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion) to not deport you right now, but maybe deport you later. A work permit is better than nothing, but it's not a green card.
The Citizenship and Immigration Service will be releasing more instructions, so we immigration lawyers know what forms to file, etc., but won't be accepting applications for at least a couple of months. This isn't like the President snaps his fingers and a whole new system springs into existence. It's a bureaucracy. It takes time to promulgate stuff.