Questions

What is executive action?

What is deferred action?

Who qualifies for deferred action?

Why doesn’t the President just grant qualified individuals legal permanent status?

How do I submit my request for DACA or DAPA?

When can I apply?

How long does it take for an individual to receive DACA or DAPA?

As a parent, do I receive any kind of status if my child receives DACA?

Can I apply for DACA or DAPA if I have been arrested?

What kind of crimes would prevent me from obtaining deferred action?

Is it necessary to have paid taxes before getting DAPA?

What benefits does deferred action give?

What kind of documents do I need?

What if you do not have documentation establishing continuous presence in the country?

What if you are currently detained by immigration?

What if you have a current order of deportation?

What if I was previously deported, but have a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident child?

What if I was previously deported and didn’t qualify for DACA until now?

How will the government pay for the processing of these applications?

If I qualify for DACA or DAPA, do I receive any public benefits?

Are there any risks in applying for DACA, or DAPA?

How will immigration enforcement change?

Why is immigration changing their priorities on deportation?

What is a provisional waiver?

When do changes for the provisional waiver go into effect?

What is executive action?

Executive action is basically the power of the president to introduce policies to the legal system without the approval of the legislative branch, Congress. Executive action is said not to have legal weight, but as of now opposition to Obama’s recent executive action on immigration does not pose a threat.

What is deferred action?

Deferred action refers to the prosecutorial discretion exercised by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is basically deciding not to proceed with the deportation of an undocumented individual.

Who qualifies for deferred action?

If you entered the country before January 1, 2010 and were under 16 years of age when you entered, you may be eligible to receive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). If you are the parent of a United States citizen or legal permanent resident born on or before November 20, 2014 (who obtained their status by November 20, 2014) and entered the country before January 10, 2010 you are eligible to receive Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).

Why doesn’t the President just grant qualified individuals legal permanent status?

The president only has the power to defer action on deportations. However, the power to decide who can become a legal permanent resident or obtain citizenship belongs to Congress. All of the bills that would have granted legal status for undocumented immigrants were ultimately turned down by Congress, which is why President Obama exercised his executive power to provide temporary relief from deportation.

How do I submit my request for DACA or DAPA?

USCIS will ultimately issue forms that have to be submitted. These forms have yet to be released along with their corresponding instructions.

When can I apply?

Individuals who wish to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program can apply approximately 90 days after November 20, 2014, the day President Obama announced the measures of his executive action. Those who wish to apply for the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program can apply approximately 180 days after November 20, 2014. These waiting periods are approximate and the new forms have yet to be released with their corresponding instructions.

How long does it take for an individual to receive DACA or DAPA?

It is impossible to have an exact answer. The length of time it will take for USCIS to process these applications will depend on a variety of factors. USCIS plans to process all applications received by the end of 2015 by the end of 2016. Essentially each individual application is aimed to be processed within one year of receiving the application.

As a parent, do I receive any kind of status if my child receives DACA?

No, unfortunately if you have a child that obtains DACA, their status will not grant you any benefits.

Can I apply for DACA or DAPA if I have been arrested?

You can apply to DACA or DAPA if you have been arrested, however, certain crimes may make you ineligible.

What kind of crimes would prevent me from obtaining deferred action?

According to the instructions provided by the Obama administration and USCIS, felonies, significant misdemeanors, and multiple misdemeanors (even traffic violations) can make you ineligible from receiving deferred action. Every application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Is it necessary to have paid taxes before getting DAPA?

It is not necessary for parents to have filed taxes previous to applying for DAPA. However, if you have filed taxes, it will be something important to submit with your application. Obama’s executive action introduces a system for DACA and DAPA recipients that begins with the registration process, followed by a background check. Ultimately after being approved and given a work permit, it will be mandatory for the individual to start paying taxes to contribute to the United States government.

What benefits does deferred action give?

Deferred action essentially gives you permission to remain within the United States for the length of time it is valid which is set at three years. You also receive an Employment Authorization Document (work permit) that is valid for three years, which will allow you to work legally so that you can benefit from a job and contribute to the economy.

What kind of documents do I need?

As with any application, you will need to submit government-issued identification such as a license, passport, etc. along with two passport-size photos. The most important kind of documents you will need is evidence that proves that you have lived in the United States since at least January 1, 2010. Documents proving continuous presence include school records, medical records, rent receipts, utilities bills, etc. If you are a parent seeking out DAPA, you will need your child’s birth certificate. If you have been arrested, you will also need to obtain a certificate of disposition from the court that processed your arrest.

Necessary Documents for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA):

  • Passport (of parents and children)
  • National identification cards (of parents and children)
  • Birth certificates (of parents and children)
  • Child’s green card  or Certificate of Citizenship (if applicable)
  • Affidavits of paternity
  • School records (of parents and children)
  • Medical records (of parents and children)
  • Criminal records/certificate of disposition (of parents)
  • Travel records
  • Employment records (letter from employer)
  • Bank records (statements, letter from the bank)
  • Insurance records (worker’s compensation, pet insurance, health insurance, life insurance, etc.)
  • Taxes (if available)
  • Rent Receipts
  • Lease Contracts
  • Bills (light, gas, water, internet, cellphone, etc.)
  • Legal correspondence (child support, alimony, divorce papers, etc.)
  • Immigration Documents (court hearings, detention papers, orders of deportation, etc.)
  • Criminal Record = Certificate of Dispositions (if you have been arrested)
  • Miscellaneous junk mail

Necessary Documents for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

  • Passport
  • National identification cards
  • Birth Certificate
  • School records (proof of current enrollment, completion of high school or GED)
  • Medical records
  • Criminal records/certificate of disposition
  • Travel records
  • Employment records (letter from employer)
  • Bank records (statements, letter from the bank)
  • Insurance records (worker’s compensation, pet insurance, health insurance, life insurance, etc.)
  • Taxes (if available)
  • Rent Receipts
  • Lease Contracts
  • Bills (light, gas, water, internet, cellphone, etc.)
  • Legal Correspondence (child support, alimony, divorce papers, etc.)
  • Immigration Documents (court hearings, detention papers, deportation orders, etc.)
  • Criminal Record = Certificate of Disposition (if you have been arrested)
  • Miscellaneous junk mail

What if you do not have documentation establishing continuous presence in the country?

If you don’t have any documentation establishing that you have been here in the United States since January 1, 2010, you will not be able to obtain deferred action because the approval of your case depends on the documentation you submit to USCIS.

What if you are currently detained by immigration?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have been instructed to immediately start identifying individuals who they believe fulfill the requirements for either DACA or DAPA and refer them to the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) for determination of eligibility. If ICE or CBP fails to identify you as someone who is eligible, you have the chance of presenting yourself as a possible candidate.

What if you have a current order of deportation?

Likewise, if you have a current order of deportation, immigration officials have been instructed to review your case and set aside individuals who they believe are eligible for DACA or DAPA and refer them to USCIS.

What if I was previously deported, but have a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident child?

As long as you have been present in the United States since January 1, 2010 and have a child that was born and became a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident before November 20, 2014 you are eligible. In order for you to be a priority for deportation you must have entered the country illegally and disobeyed an order of deportation from January 1, 2014 or later.

What if I was previously deported and didn’t qualify for DACA until now?

As long as your recent entrance into the United States was before your 16th birthday and were present in the United States since January 1, 2010 and have documentation to prove it, you may apply.   In order for you to be a priority for deportation you must have entered the country illegally January 1, 2014 or later and/or disobeyed an order of deportation from January 1, 2014 or later.

How will the government pay for the processing of these applications?

DAPA will have the same fee as DACA, which is $465 per application. The Department of Homeland Security has stated that they will not grant any fee waivers and that fee exemptions are limited.

If I qualify for DACA or DAPA, do I receive any public benefits?

You do not receive any federal public benefits like financial aid, health care, and food stamps. Whether an individual with DACA or DAPA can obtain a state-issued driver’s license, in-state financial aid, among other state benefits, depends on the state.

Are there any risks in applying for DACA, or DAPA?

Each case for deferred action is reviewed individually and those who are denied deferred action risk getting deported. Whether or not the individual is deported depends on whether or not they are a priority according to the new policy.

How will immigration enforcement change?

President Obama’s executive action released a priorities enforcement memo that concentrates on the capturing and deporting of individuals that are national threats, convicted felons, or crossed the border January 1, 2014 or later. Immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 2014 and have not committed any serious crimes are not priorities for deportation and should not be targeted for removal. In addition, worksite raids will follow a new strategy by targeting employers who encourage the demand for undocumented immigrants.

Why is immigration changing their priorities on deportation?

The Department of Homeland Security is changing their priorities in order to make more effective use of its forces to remove individuals who have committed crimes or recently crossed the border, and protect undocumented parents and children who have lived in the United States for many years.

What is a provisional waiver?

A provisional waiver is a pardon that children and spouses of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can request if they have been in the country illegally for more than 180 days. The form is the I-601, Application Waiver for Grounds of Inadmissibility. This provisional waiver allows the individual to apply for the pardon without having to leave the United States until their interview at the consulate or embassy in their country of origin. From the moment they go to the consulate or embassy their case will be processed like a normal visa petition. What the waiver does is prevent them from having to wait for a 10-year-period to return to the United States, which is the punishment for being in the country illegally.

When do changes for the provisional waiver go into effect?

As of now, USCIS has not released an approximate date as to when the changes will officially go into effect or when the new forms will be released.