Executive Action: Deferred Action (DACA/DAPA)
Read our FAQ on Deferred Action for updates as they come out!
Immigration initiatives announced by President Obama on executive action on November 21st 2014 will be of assistance to undocumented immigrants in the U.S.A.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is delegated the responsibility of ensuring that U.S. immigration laws are followed. It is not always possible for all immigration laws to be enforced immediately due to the availability of enforcement resources.
Deferred action is a mechanism that has been used for a long time by the DHS, meaning that an undocumented immigrant may be relieved for a while from removal from the country. This could be due to the humanitarian circumstances of a person or because it suits the DHS at the time. Deferred action is quite legal as long as it is determined based on individual cases but it is not designed to pass on any legal status in the country and certainly not citizenship. It does mean, however, that an individual can stay in the country for a certain period of time.
In earlier times deferred action was used for certain individuals - often minor children and spouses of immigrants who were either legal, victims of trafficking and domestic violence or widows of U.S. citizens. More recently, commencing in 2012, deferred action focused on those who came to the U. S. while still children. The executive action made on November 20th 2014, is expanding DACA and issuing guidance for case-by-case use of deferred action for adults who have been residing in this country since January 1st 2010, are parents of U.S.A. citizens or permanent residents who are lawful and do not come under enforcement priorities.
As laid down in the November 20th authorization, documents are valid for three years, including those individuals who have applied for and are waiting for 2 year work authorization documents based on their DACA grants renewals. USCIS has also been told to extend those two-year renewals already issued, to three years.
The directive states that considering individuals case-by-case for deferred action for those who have lived in the U.S. for a long time and children who are not enforcement priorities are in the nation's economic and security interests as they are encouraging these individuals to reveal themselves, undertake background checks, pay any necessary fees, file applications for work authorization and be counted.
DACA was for those under 31 years on June 15th 2012, who came into the U. S. before June 15th 2007 as children below 16 years of age and who matched exact public safety and educational criteria, possess eligibility for deferred action which is determined case-by-case. The first DACA expansion was announced on June 15th 2012, which offered deferred action for two years. On June 5th 2014, USCIS stated that DACA candidates were able to put in a request for renewing the deferred action for a further two years.
DACA expansion is a way of helping young people who entered the U.S.A. before reaching 16 years of age. Previously the cut- off date was June 15th 2007, but now a person can file an application for DACA if the U.S. was entered since January 1st 2010 and there has been continuous residence. Applicants can obtain authorization for employment for three years and cannot be deported.
In the most recent executive directive, the USCIS has been told to expand DACA in a number of ways including:
The removal of the age cap
DACA will be applicable to all eligible immigrants who came into the U.S. by the required entry date before 16 years of age regardless of age in June 2012 or today. There is no age restriction current now as there was before.
Extension of DACA renewal and authorization to work to 3 years and not the former 2 years
This change will be applicable to all people who are first-time applicants and applications for renewing too and will be effective from November 24th, 2014.
Adjusting the requirement for date-of-entry
The date which is the cut –off by which a DACA applicant must have resided in the United States should be adjusted from June 15th 2007 to January 1st 2010.
What is DAPA?
DAPA is for parents of U.S.A. citizens and lawful residents: This allows parents of U.S.A. citizens and legal permanent residents who have been residing in the U.S.A. since January 1st 2010, to make a request for deferred action and authorization for employment for three years. The children had to have been born as of the date of the announcement, Nov. 20, 2014. Regulations as to who may qualify, whether taxes must be paid retroactively and going forward, criminal exclusions, etc. have not yet been issued, so we must wait. But as reliable information becomes available, we'll be posting it on the FAQ page for Executive Action.
When will the USCIS accept applications?
The USCIS is expected to start to accept applications using these new criteria from no more than 90 days dated from the 20th November 2014 for DACA and not until 180 days for DAPA..
Return to Executive Action.