Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain individuals who came to the United States as children (prior to reaching their 16th birthday) and who meet several key requirements, may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for employment authorization (a “work permit”).

You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Attorneys at HaleyNelson & Heilbrun, LLP, can assess whether or not you meet the specific requirements for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and can assist you in filing an application.

Deferred Action for Parent Accountability (DAPA)

President Obama’s announcement authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to grant deferred action to parents of US citizens or lawful permanent residents. Deferred action is a temporary protection from deportation. Through it, a person is authorized to remain in the United States temporarily and to receive employment authorization. A grant of deferred action does not provide a path to lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship.

Although the application does not exist yet, the administration has provided some detail about who will be eligible when the application becomes available. According to the announcement, a parent will be eligible for DAPA if the following requirements are met:

  1. Has, as of November 20, 2014, a son or daughter of any age, who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  2. Has continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010;
  3. Is physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014, and at the time of making a DAPA request;
  4. Has no lawful status on November 20, 2014;
  5. Is not an enforcement priority (see below for a detailed explanation); and
  6. Presents no other factors that would cause USCIS to deny the request in its exercise of discretion.

Although you can gather documents to support these requirements, an application for DAPA does not yet exist. On February 16, 2015, a federal district court judge in Texas temporarily blocked two of the new programs President Obama announced on November 20, 2014. The judge’s decision is temporary and is only limited to DAPA and “expanded DACA.” Importantly, the DACA program from 2012 is still in effect, but the expansion to the DACA program announced in November 20, 2014 are temporarily on hold. The implementation of DAPA is also temporarily on hold. Although the Obama Administration’s emergency request to overturn the judge’s order was denied by the 5th Circuit in May 2015, the Court heard oral arguments in this case on July 10, 2015 in New Orleans. While the three judges on the panel are still in deliberation, the Court’s temporary injunction is still in effect. However, our firm is confident that the judge’s order contradicts case law from the US Supreme Court and that the temporary stay will ultimately be overturned.

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