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Update on Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)

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Update on Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)

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Contributed by Koby Polaski, Senior Attorney, Edwards Office

On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced a series of executive actions which have the intended purpose of securing the United States borders, prioritizing the removal of felons, and allowing certain undocumented immigrants to apply for deferred action.

Those that are eligible must pass a criminal background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.  Other important components and requirements of the program are outlined here:

  1. Applicants must be an undocumented individual living in the United States who is the parent of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, and who meets the guidelines listed below.
  • Have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010;
  • Had, on November 20, 2014, a son or daughter who is  a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and
  • Are not an enforcement priority for removal from the United States, under the November 20, 2014, Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum.
  1. The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service has been tasked with developing further guidelines and procedures and will consider each request for DAPA on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Enforcement priorities include (but are not limited to) national security and public safety threats.  This category includes people with particularly serious misdemeanors and felonies.  Therefore, if you have any kind of criminal conviction, it is important that we know about and analyze it before submitting any applications on your behalf.

After President Obama’s executive action announcement in November, the government announced its plan to begin accepting DAPA applications in May of this year.  However, on February 16, 2015, a federal judge in the Southern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction, which delays implementation of DAPA and the expansion of DACA.  Following the injunction, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it suspended plans to implement DAPA.

The federal government will appeal the temporary injunction to a higher court.  Additionally, if the judge in Texas ultimately rules against DAPA, the federal government will also appeal any ruling striking down the programs.

Although there are no guarantees in any court of law, the arguments and precedent for DACA and DAPA as legitimate exercises of prosecutorial discretion are strong.  We therefore expect that the court will ultimately uphold both programs as lawful, allowing USCIS to move forward with implementation.

Our recommendation is that potential applicants continue preparing to apply for DAPA by gathering documents demonstrating their presence in the country since before January 1, 2010.

Please contact Joseph & Hall P.C. if you would like to further discuss your case or new developments in this litigation.

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