Immigration and firm news

President Obama Expands DACA

President Obama’s November 20, 2014 Executive Action plan expands his 2012 DACA program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  This is one of two deferred action programs announced by the President last week.   The Deferred Action and Parent Accountability (DAPA) program is a separate program and will be reported in another blog post. As a reminder, Deferred Action is not a visa; it is not a green card or permanent residence; it is not a path to citizenship or citizenship.  It is stepping forward “out of the shadows” and announcing oneself to the government, and if qualified, the government will delay or defer removal or until such time as Congress comes up with a (hopefully) better system or benefit for the undocumented.  Although the next Congress or President could take DACA away, many people think this is unlikely but not guaranteed.  Whether to apply requires analyzing the risks against the benefits of work authorization.  The government estimates that about 5 million people may apply for expanded DACA and DAPA,  In either case, DACA/DAPA recipients will not be able to sponsor relatives. Indeed, President Obama’s legal team determined that he did not have the authority to grant deferred action to the parents of those who already received DACA. Here are the differences between the 2012 and 2014 program.

2012 DACA

Applicants must have:

1.  Arrived in the USA before age 16.

2. Lived in the US continuously since June 15, 2007.

3. Been physically present in the US on June 15, 2012 and at time of application.

4.  Cannot be over 31 as of June 15, 2012.

5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012.

6. Must be in school, have completed a GED, or high school, or have been honorably discharged from the military.

7. Must not have any felony convictions,  three or more misdemeanors, conviction for a “significant” misdemeanor, or be a threat to public safety or national security.

8. Must not have left the USA except for trips that are “brief, innocent and casual” between June 15, 2007 and date of application or grant. Important special rules for those under order of deportation/removal or in removal proceedings.

9.  Must not have left the USA without advance parole since grant of DACA.

10.  Issued in two year increments.

2014 DACA

1.  Must have come to the US before age 16.

2. Must have lived in the US continuously since January 1, 2010 and be out of status on January 1, 2010.

3. Been physically present in the US on November 20, 2014.

4. No age limit on January 1, 2010 or at time of application.

5. #5, 8 above unclear today but probably the same.

6. #7 unclear.

7. Will be issued in three year increments.  DACA recipients of the 2012 program will get three years at renewal time if the renewal is applied for on or after November 24, 2014.

New DACA goes into effect some time in February 2015 and more details of the program will be forthcoming.  Other than the renewals of DACA 2012 cited above, THIS PROGRAM IS NOT IN EFFECT NOW, but people eligible for the 2012 DACA can still apply.

See our prior blog post, President Obama Announces Executive Action Plans, on what documents to collect now, where to get legal advice, and how to avoid scams.