Reforms are expected to be in place for undocumented foreign nationals applying for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and parents of United States Citizens or Legal Permanent Residences applying for DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents). As with all immigration changes, it’s important to educate yourself and be aware of timelines, requirements for applying, and the potential scams that often happen when such relief measures are announced.
DACA is an immigration policy available to certain people who came to the United States before the age of 16 and lived in the United States continuously for a certain period of time. DACA stops removal proceedings against the individual and allows work authorization for those who qualify.
As part of President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Reform announced on November 20, 2014, DACA will expand its eligibility requirements to include more people There will also be a new category created called DAPA.
The proposed changes to DACA were scheduled to take place in February of this year. However due to a federal court order the expansions have not been implemented yet. USCIS expects to begin accepting applications for DAPA in May of 2015.
Obama’s proposals include an increase in the group of people eligible for DACA. Previously DACA included those who entered the United States before the age of 16 and continued to live in the United States since June 15, 2007. Now DACA will include those who entered the United States before age 16 and lived here continuously since January 1, 2010. DACA will also expand the period of work authorization from two years to three years for those who qualify.
DAPA, which is expected to start accepting applications this May, is a new category to protect parents of United States Citizens or Legal Permanent Residence. Those approved for DAPA will be eligible to live in the United States temporary without the risk of deportation. Alike DACA, DAPA applicants may also be considered for work authorization.
While these changes are exciting and will benefit many families it is important to take the appropriate precautions to ensure your application is filed correctly. Those applying for DACA may be in a vulnerable position, in fear of deportation or other consequences. While childhood arrivals that reside in the United States may qualify for DACA, applicants should be careful to ensure they qualify and take steps to file their application correctly. Consulting an attorney is a good idea for those applying for DACA or DAPA status to receive legal advice specific to your individual situation.
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has issued a consumer warning listing 5 things to be aware of in regards to the changes to DACA and DAPA. AILA recommends getting legal advice when applying for DACA or DAPA. DACA and DAPA can be a confusing process and with the new changes in play, this may create additional confusion. An attorney can help you navigate the complicated legal process.
AILA’s warns applicants to take note of 5 things in regards to DACA and DAPA:
DACA expansion and DAPA cannot be applied for yet.
There are additional requirements for DACA and DAPA, not everyone will qualify for these classifications. Solely being a childhood arrival or a parent of a United States Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident is not the only requirement.
Get legal assistance before applying to either DACA or DAPA.
Make sure all the information is true and correct, submitting the wrong information can prevent you from gaining DACA or DAPA.
There are many scams out there, beware of them and avoid them.
Consult the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal today to discuss the expansion of DACA and the intricacies of applying for DAPA. Ms. Khandelwal is an immigration attorney located in Silicon Valley with over 10 years of experience in the field.