What is Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA)?

Generally, deferred action is prosecutorial discretion in which immigration and customs officials determine to defer, that is to postpone, removal proceedings (formerly known as “deportation”). Deferred action does not award you lawful immigration status, put you on a pathway to lawful status, nor does it forgive you for past violations of U.S. immigration laws. However, deferred action allows for you to obtain employment authorization for the period of the deferred action, as long as you have an economic necessity for employment. Additionally, an individual does not accrue unlawful presence in the United States during the time he or she is granted deferred action, which could otherwise potentially be a factor in removal proceedings. It is also important to note that deferred action is discretionary and can be revoked at any time.

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) is a specific type of deferred action, for those who qualify, which was part of the President’s Executive Action on immigration from November of 2014. However, a preliminary injunction was granted in February of 2015, challenging the Executive Action on immigration on constitutional grounds, which currently prevents it from taking effect. Ultimately, DAPA should be found to be constitutional and implemented, but for now it is still unknown when it will take effect. DAPA will allow for certain undocumented individuals who have U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident children, and meet additional guidelines, to request deferred action for a period of three years and then be eligible for employment authorization. Pursuant to current immigration policy, deferred action and the employment authorization may be renewed.

Essentially, DAPA is a temporary reprieve that allows qualifying individuals to work legally and “step out of the shadows.” Although DAPA is discretionary and subject to revocation at any time without notice, it is intended to give Congress time to reach a consensus to potentially reform immigration policy in the future. For this reason, DAPA is targeted at individuals who would have been provided, or could be provided, a pathway to legal status under recent proposed laws for comprehensive immigration reform. Thus, as DAPA is a temporary reprieve, those who qualify may potentially be granted amnesty and be put on the pathway to lawful immigration status in the future. Keep in mind the future of DAPA is still very much uncertain and no one can guarantee what benefits DAPA will confer in the future. However, for now, DAPA is not an amnesty (it does not forgive past immigration violations), it confers no rights, and does not put an approved applicant on the pathway to lawful status.

Proposed Requirements to Qualify for DAPA under the November 2014 Executive Action on Immigration

You may qualify for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans if you complete the following guidelines:
Have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010;
Had, on November 20, 2014, a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; and
Are not an enforcement priority for removal from the United States, under the November 20, 2014 Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memo (i.e., not a threat to public safety, national security, or a criminal background that would make him/her an enforcement priority.

Applying for DAPA and employment authorization

To apply for DAPA, you must submit a Consideration of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans Form (Form I-821P) to USCIS. Form I-821P must be accompanied by an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) and a Form I-765 SW worksheet to establish an economic need of employment. If you do not submit a Form I-765, USCIS will not consider the request for deferred action. The total filing fees that USCIS charges to submit these forms is $465.00. Brown Immigration Law, LLC will charge additional legal fees for legal services rendered.

When USCIS determines that your file is complete for review, it will send a receipt notice. Then, USCIS will send an appointment notice to visit the Application Support Center (ASC) for biometric services. This is where they will collect data such as biographic information and fingerprints to perform a proper background check. It is important for you to attend the biometrics appointment since failure to show up may delay or jeopardize denial of a request for deferred action. There is even an option to receive an email or text message that provides notification that forms have been accepted. This is done by completing an E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (Form G-1145).

With your file, you will need to submit copies of supporting documents to prove you qualify for DAPA. In gathering your documents, keep in mind that it is your burden to prove each of the DAPA elements listed above. Of course any additional evidence that you can gather to prove you meet all of the elements of the guidelines will make your case stronger. Any incomplete or lacking evidence that you submit can delay your application processing or even jeopardize its approval. Since the USCIS has very particular and strict guidelines on the types of evidence it will accept as evidence of each element, we can assist you in putting together the correct documents to make your case as strong as possible.

USCIS reviews DAPA requests on a case-by-case basis and may exercise its discretion in granting or denying an application. It may request additional evidence or even request you to appear at the USCIS office. USCIS notifies the individual in writing if it decides to do so.

Contact information

For any further information or questions in regards to applying for DAPA and employment authorization, please feel free to contact Brown Immigration Law, LLC by phone at (402) 328-9899 or via email at reform@brownimmigrationlaw.com.