One of the most significant provisions of the executive action announced by President Barack Obama in November 2014 is the creation of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, which is truly a humanitarian approach to immigration reform. The authority to carry out this new program falls on the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) and it can be defined as an effort to apply prosecutorial discretion when looking at undocumented immigrants whose children were born in this country.
A clear goal of DAPA is to keep immigrant families together and to bring them relief from deportation that could break them up. DAPA is essentially an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), for which President Obama and his White House have taken plenty of flack. In the wake of the Patriot Act enactment under former President George W. Bush, the number of deportations has increased while immigration levels dropped. DAPA seeks to control this situation by providing a path to legal residence for undocumented immigrants who:
– Have at least one child who was born in the U.S. or is a Lawful Permanent Resident
– Have been living in the U.S. on a continuous basis starting before January 1, 2010
– Fall under the category of undocumented immigrants
– Do not have a criminal record that would categorize them as a risk to the community
– Were present in the U.S. on 11/20/2014 with no lawful status
Immigration analysts estimate that DAPA will benefit millions of undocumented immigrants over the next three years. Immigrants who think that they may qualify for this program are encouraged to seek the assistance of professional immigration lawyers to help them navigate the DAPA process, which is expected to begin in earnest by the summer of 2015.
In terms of DACA, the program has been expanded to benefit the children of immigrants who were under the age of 18 when they were brought to the U.S. unlawfully by their parents. Individuals eligible for this program must have been living in this country before January 1, 2010. DACA applicants who are approved to receive benefits will have identification documents and authorization to work and study in the U.S., and this is in addition to being able to live without the threat of deportation troubling their lives.
To learn more about Obama’s new executive action plan and how it may affect your family, reach out to the professional immigration attorneys at Kazmi and Sakata today. We offer free consultations and are here to answer any questions you may have. Call 858-874-0711 – we look forward to hearing from you.