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“Eligibility for President’s Executive Action for Parents of USC and LPR Children (‘DAPA’)”

By Peter F. Asaad

On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced several immigration executive actions. One of the central executive actions announced is called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (“DAPA”).

What is DAPA?

Similar to the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program, DAPA is a deferred action program that will allow you to obtain temporary protection from deportation if you are a parent of a U.S. citizen or a parent of a Lawful Permanent Resident (commonly referred to as a “Green Card Holder”) child and have been in the country for 5 years.

If you qualify for DAPA, then U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will grant you deferred action and employment authorization.  The Department of Homeland Security will agree that it will not deport you for a renewable period of 3 years. This will allow you to live and work in the U.S. without fear of being deported during the time period you have deferred action.

Do I Qualify for DAPA?

In order to qualify for DAPA, you will need to prove:

1) As of November 20, 2014, you have had a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder).

2) You entered the U.S. before January 1, 2010 and have continuously resided in the United States since that time.

3) You have been physically present in the U.S. and not in lawful status as of November 20, 2014.

4) You paid or will pay taxes, with any applicable penalties.

5) You must provide fingerprints, pass a criminal background check, and undergo national security checks.

6) You cannot be considered an “enforcement priority” by law enforcement agents.

7) You do not present any other factors that would render a grant of deferred action inappropriate. Please note all cases are evaluated by USCIS on a case-by-case basis.

Will I Get Work Authorization?

If granted deferred action under DAPA, you will have work authorization and you will be considered to be lawfully present in the U.S. for as long as the deferred action is valid. It will last for a period of 3 years and will be renewable. The work permit will also be for a renewable period of three years.  However, the program is not permanent and it is discretionary.

When Can I Apply for DAPA?

USCIS will be administering the DAPA program and is expected to start accepting applications no later than 180 days from the President’s announcement, which is approximately May 19, 2015.

How Much Will the Application Fees Cost?

It will cost $465 to apply for deferred action under DAPA. This filing fee consists of a $380 fee for the employment authorization application and an $85 fee for fingerprints.

Was DACA Expanded?

Another change that was announced is the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program to include young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and who have been continuously residing in the United States since January 1, 2010.  Notably, it changes the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years and the current age “cap” will be eliminated.  This expansion of DACA should be running within approximately 90 days, which is approximately February 18, 2015.

How Do I Begin the Process of Applying?

Over the next few weeks, Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC (“ISG”) will provide discounted consultations for individuals who would like to apply for DAPA.

Although USCIS is not yet accepting applications for DAPA or expanded DACA, if you believe you may be eligible for either, USCIS is recommending that you prepare by gathering documents that establish factors such as your relationship to a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident child and continuous residence in the United States over the last five years or more.