In November 2014, President Barack Obama took executive action on immigration by expanding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and creating Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). These programs would allow for specific undocumented individuals in the U.S. to receive legal status, a work permit and avoid deportation.
DAPA would provide legal status for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents that have been in US since January 1, 2010. In order to be eligible, one must:
• Be the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
• Have continuously lived in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.
• Have been present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014. It’s also likely that you will need to be present in the U.S. every day from now until you apply for DAPA.
• No lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014. To meet this requirement, (1) you must have entered the U.S. without papers, or, if you entered lawfully, your lawful immigration status must have expired before November 20, 2014; and (2) you must not have a lawful immigration status at the time you apply for DAPA.
• Have not been convicted of certain criminal offenses, including any felonies and some misdemeanors.
Obama also proposed an Expanded DACA; currently, you must have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012 in order to be eligible. However, expanded DACA allows for individuals 31 years old and older on June 15, 2012 to be eligible, in addition to:
• Having come to the United States before your sixteenth birthday.
• Having continuously lived in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.
• Having graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or “be in school” on the date that you submit your deferred action application.
• Having not been convicted of certain criminal offenses.
These programs would provide legal status for some 11 million+ illegal immigrants living in U.S. However, a district court in Texas filed a lawsuit requesting an injunction to stop the Executive Action on the grounds that President Obama had overstepped his authority. This took place in February 2015, and has since successfully prevented DAPA and expanded DACA programs from going into effect.
The Obama Administration has been adamantly fighting this injunction. He filed an appeal in 2015, which was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals (The Fifth Circuit) on May 26th, 2015. However, this was not the final decision regarding the lawfulness of DAPA and expanded DACA. On January 19, 2016, the Supreme Court decided to take this case and review the Fifth Circuit’s decision. On April 18, 2016, oral arguments for the case will take place, and the Court will most likely reach a decision by June 2016.
Our office is gearing up for the courts to rule in our favor. If you have any questions about DAPA, DACA or the pending court case, please contact our office. We would be happy to speak with you.