Will there be immigration reform and how should one prepare for it? Those are common concerns many immigrants have, especially in light of recent developments wherein President Obama has indicated that he likely will pass another executive order most likely to extend his current deferred action program currently only available to individuals who were under 16-years-old when entering the United States.
The answer to this question is difficult because it is still unclear exactly what new plan may be offered. However, if deferred action is extended to more immigrant categories, then those immigrants should plan to meet similar requirements. For example, do not commit crimes. This is probably the biggest eliminating factor. If one has committed a significant misdemeanor offense or worse (a felony) they have a strong likelihood of being ineligible for deferred action. If one has committed crimes, there still may be ways to mitigate or lessen the consequences. Often times, such remedies take time to resolve and need the assistance of legal counsel to make it happen. If one has this problem, do not delay dealing with it.
The second recommendation is for immigrants to graduate from high school or obtain a GED. Not only is increased knowledge beneficial in other ways, it may be a requirement for an immigrant benefit.
Third, do not commit identity theft or tax fraud. There is a strong temptation for undocumented immigrants to use social security numbers that do not belong to them and also to claim beneficiaries they should not in order to obtain a tax refund. Not only can such factors make one ineligible for immigration benefits, but they are also crimes which almost guarantee deportation (if caught).
Finally, save money because there will most likely be filing fees and attorney fees if an attorney is used to assist in dealing with USCIS. One would not want to delay obtaining an immigration benefit because they did not save up money to pay to get it.
Ultimately, immigration reform will happen. Although there are uncertainties about what it will be, following the above recommendations is a good starting point in order to be prepared.