When the President announced his changes to immigration policy, he included a program for undocumented parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.
This program is officially called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, or DAPA. It is modeled after DACA, so there are many similarities.
A person who is granted DAPA will receive work authorization and permission to remain in the United States for three years. At the end of three years, should the program still exist, the applicant can reapply.
However, DAPA does not allow someone to apply for lawful permanent residency or citizenship. It also does not allow people to travel in and out of the United States.
THE BASIC QUALIFICATIONS FOR DAPA ARE:
- Continuous presence in the United States since on or before January 1, 2010;
- Be the parent of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident on or before November 20, 2014;
- Be without legal immigration status on November 20, 2014;
- Have no or minimal criminal history; and
- Not be an enforcement priority (I will write about this in my next update).
The White House has confirmed that DAPA applicants will not have to pay “back taxes” in order to qualify. However, if someone is granted DAPA, they will need to pay taxes moving forward.
USCIS has been directed to have DAPA implemented on or before May 19, 2015. We do not know what forms, documentation, or fees will be required, though. I anticipate it will be similar to DACA with a $465 filing fee.
Another area where we are waiting for instruction is how USCIS will define the parent-child relationship. For example, will they require that the child not be above a certain age? What if the child was adopted or is a step-child?
HOW TO PREPARE FOR DAPA:
- Collect proof that you have been in the United States since at least January 1, 2010;
- One item per month would be ideal
- Obtain birth certificate(s) for your child(ren);
- Make sure names are spelled correctly
- If you are a father and you are not listed on the birth certificate, work with a family law attorney to “legitimate” your child
- If your child is a Lawful Permanent Resident, obtain a copy of the green card;
- Save your money to pay for government filing fees and legal fees, if you plan on hiring an attorney;
- If you do plan on working with an attorney, you should make a consultation now so you can get to know each other before you sign a contract.
Remember, no one can apply for DAPA today.
We are all waiting for USCIS to create the DAPA filing process and procedure. We do not know how much work will be involved and there are still many questions that need to be answered before we know all of the eligibility requirements.
For now, I highly recommend waiting before you hire an attorney to help you with filing for DAPA, though scheduling a consultation now may be a good idea so you can ensure you will be comfortable with their representation prior to signing a contract.