Monday, February 9, 2015
President Obama’s New Deferred Action Program
On November 20, President Obama announced a new program - Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The program is for parents who have been in the US since January 1, 2010 or earlier and who have a child who is a US citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). The President is also expanding DACA.
Information about the DAPA Program
What is DAPA? With DAPA you will…
· have protection from deportation for three years.
· be able apply for a work permit for three years.
· be able to re-apply after three years.
· be able to apply for a social security number and, in some states, for a driver’s license.
· NOT have permanent immigration status. DAPA may change or end in the future.
WARNING! AVOID IMMIGRATION FRAUD: There is NO application process yet for DAPA. The application process for DAPA is expected to start in late May 2015.
DAPA Program Eligibility Requirements
You may be eligible if:
- You have a child who is a US citizen or LPR, and who was born on or before November 20, 2014,
- You have lived in the US since January 1, 2010 or earlier, AND
- You were in the US and did not have lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014.
You must also pass a background check. If you have a record of criminal or immigration law violations, you should consult with an attorney to determine if they might affect your eligibility.
The application cost will be $465.
Changes to Expand DACA Eligibility
The current DACA program is still open for applications and renewals and is now giving deferred action and work authorization for three years instead of two. Starting February 18, 2015, some of the DACA requirements will change so that you may qualify for DACA if you meet the following requirements:
1. You came to the US before the age of 16 (there is no longer an upper age limit to apply),
2. You have lived in the US since January 1, 2010 or earlier,
3. You were in the US and did not have a lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012, AND
4. You are enrolled in school or adult education classes, or you have a GED or high school diploma (consult with a trusted community organization if you need help understanding this requirement).
You must also pass a background check. You should consult with an attorney or BIA accredited representative if you have any criminal convictions to determine if they affect your eligibility.
How to Prepare for the DAPA Program
Remember: The DAPA application process is expected to start in late May 2015
Begin saving money to pay the $465 application fee.
Start collecting documents now to help prove you meet the requirements:
Proof of your identity: such as your passport, matrícula consular, or birth certificate and a photo ID. Visit your country’s consulate to obtain one of these documents if you do not already have them.
Proof that you were in the US on November 20, 2014: Provide proof that you were in the US on a date as close as possible to November 20, 2014. See the list of examples below.
Proof that you have a US citizen or LPR child: For example, your child’s birth certificate with your name on it.
Proof that you have been in the country for 5 years since January 1, 2010: Collect documents that include your name and date to show you have been in the US since January 1, 2010 or earlier.
Examples of documents that may be used to show presence in the US:
o Proof of employment: W-2 tax forms, tax returns, pay stub or other pay receipts from your jobs; photocopies of checks if you are paid by check
o Union membership records
o Bank statements, cancelled checks or money order receipts
o Billing statements or receipts (phone, electricity, water, rent, insurance, car insurance, etc.)
o Leases, rental agreements, or property titles (house, car)
o Medical records or bills: yours or your child’s if it includes your name
o Driver’s license or photo ID (the date issued on the card can be used)
o School records or other attendance certificates
If you have had encounters with law enforcement or immigration enforcement or are not sure, obtain your criminal records and/or immigration papers. You should also collect any proof that you complied with any requirements for tickets or convictions. Certain criminal convictions, terrorist or gang activity, or immigration violations may disqualify you from DAPA and/or expose you to removal proceedings. You should consult with an attorney or a BIA accredited representative about your circumstances.
Help Prevent Immigration Fraud: Share with your friends and family that DAPA has not started yet and no one can apply for the new DAPA program yet. Some people may try to make money or earn business by giving out false or misleading information. If you are not sure if the person offering to help you is telling the truth, check with another reliable source, like a trusted community organization. Remember, in the US, notarios públicos are not lawyers and cannot give you legal advice or fix your immigration papers.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Expanded eligibility as of 2015) Adult education documentation requirement – if DACA applicant is not currently enrolled in high school:
United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has stated that there is no fixed requirement for what form the educational records must take. What is important is that such documents include all of the following:
· the name and address or contact information of the adult education program, ideally on letterhead,
· the applicant’s full name,
· the time period the document covers (start and end date or indication that participation is ongoing,) and
· evidence of coursework completed, if applicable.
Keeping in mind the variety of documents that each school is able to provide, USCIS is prepared to accept any documents that schools or eligible educational programs provide to applicants that meet these basic requirements.
The Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, which will allow many undocumented parents of US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident children to obtain temporary protection against deportation and will provide work authorization for 3 years, does not have an educational requirement, but it DOES require that applicants submit documentation that verifies their continuous presence in the US between Jan. 1st, 2010 and the present. Most attorneys are recommending that applicants produce at least one document for each quarter during those years – and confirmation of attending adult ed/ESL or GED classes during any of those periods will be very helpful.