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Expansions to Eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on January 13, 2015

Millions of undocumented immigrants are currently living in the United States, many of whom arrived here as children years ago or who have lived here for many years and now have U.S.-born and U.S.-citizen children. As we recently reported, on November 20, 2014, the President announced a number of immigration executive actions that directly impact many of these undocumented long-term residents.

One such measure was the implementation of new enforcement and removal policies that would place top priority for removal on national security threats, convicted felons, gang members, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border. Second-tier priority for removal would apply to those convicted of significant or multiple misdemeanors and those who are not apprehended at the border, but who entered or reentered this country unlawfully after January 1, 2014; and third priority would apply to those who are non-criminals but who have failed to abide by a final order of removal issued on or after January 1, 2014. If any individual illegally entered the US prior to January 1, 2014, but never disobeyed a prior order of removal and was never convicted of a serious offense, he or she will not be deemed a “priority” for removal.

Additionally, the President announced expansions to the eligibility criteria for the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Specifically, DACA eligibility will be expanded to cover all undocumented immigrants who entered the US before the age of 16, rather than just those born after June 15, 1981.  The entry date will also be adjusted from June 15, 2007, to January 1, 2010, and the relief (including work authorization) will last for three years instead of two years.

Similarly, the President expanded the eligibility to Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). Under the expanded eligibility requirements, those individuals who meet the following criteria would be eligible for possible deferred action: (i) are not removal priorities under the new priority policy, (ii) have been in this country at least 5 years, (iii) have children who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents as of November 20, 2014, and (iv) present no other factors that would make a grant of deferred action inappropriate. Individuals would be assessed for eligibility for deferred action on a case-by-case basis, and may then be permitted to apply for work authorization. Individuals will undergo a thorough background check of all relevant national security and criminal databases, including DHS and FBI databases.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer

It is important to note that the DACA and DAPA eligibility modifications have not yet been implemented and will require further legislative and regulatory action to take full effect. The immigration attorneys at the Shapiro Law Group will provide updates as additional legislative and regulatory actions are taken.

The Chicago immigration lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group stand ready and able to help foreign nationals seek deferred action or obtain the necessary immigration documents that they need. We support immigration reform, which is designed to make the immigration system more efficient and effective. If you would like additional information about the President’s executive order on immigration, contact our office at (847)564-0712 to speak with an immigration attorney.