President Obama has created two programs that provide temporary protection to certain individuals who have lived in the U.S. without status for certain periods of time. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, most commonly known as DACA, benefits people who came to the US as children; while Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (also known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability), more commonly known as DAPA, benefits parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Although temporary, both programs allow qualifying immigrants the opportunity to obtain work authorization for three years, and protection from deportation during that time.
DACA allows young people who came into the US before their 16th birthday to obtain work authorization and temporary relief from deportation for three years. In addition to arrival before their 16th birthday, applicants must have lived in the US continuously since January 1, 2010, they must have been out of lawful status on June 15, 2012, and have no felony convictions or “significant” misdemeanors in order to be eligible. Additionally, applicants must be a student, a high school or college graduation, studying for their GED, or they must have successfully completed a GED exam.
DAPA, which is available to parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (“green card” holders), will be similar to DACA in that it also allows eligible applicants to obtain work authorization and temporary relief from deportation for three years. While the DAPA program is currently in development, President Obama and USCIS have announced anticipated eligibility requirements, including that applicants must have lived in the U.S. since January 1, 2010; they must have been present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014; they must have been out of lawful status on November 20, 2014; and they must have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident child who was born on or before November 20, 2014. Additionally, applicants cannot have any felony convictions, “significant” misdemeanors, or a removal order after January 1, 2014.
Although DACA and DAPA do not lead the way to permanent immigration status, they do allow temporary protection and an opportunity to work lawfully in the United States. As a recipient of DACA or DAPA, an immigrant is also able to apply for Advance Parole under certain circumstances, in order to travel outside of the U.S. and re-enter lawfully. Determining your eligibility, assessing the relevant risks, and applying for these programs can be complicated, but Aretz and Chisholm Immigration is able to help you navigate the process. Contact us today to determine if you are eligible for DACA and begin the process; or to determine what documents you need to prepare for the anticipated DAPA application process.