DACA (Deferred Action)


There are significant changes to this area of law… DAPA doesn’t exist and DACA was just recently rescinded.

Please see my blog page for an update of what’s going on. It’s possible Congress passes new and similar DACA-type laws in the next 6 months.

“Justin and his team are great everything went good on the process to get my 10 year green card I highly recommend this law office. Thank you Justin!”

Juan Garzon

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability — DAPA

The “Executive Order” (which wasn’t really an executive order, but a priority enforcement memo to ICE) by President Obama would have allowed certain people to obtain a three-year work permit through their U.S. citizen (or LPR) children if they meet certain criteria. This program is called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, or “DAPA” for short. It was declared unconstitutional by a Texas court and an equally divided US Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s judgment. If President Trump were to reinstitute the law, here is an explanation of its likely requirements:

The basic requirements:

  • You have a U.S. Citizen or LPR child born before November 20, 2014.
  • You were physically present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014.
  • You have been continuously residing in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.
  • You do not have certain felony convictions or “significant misdemeanor” convictions.

If you believe that you qualify for this or wish to discuss your eligibility, please contact my office immediately. This program allows you to “come out of the shadows,” as President Obama suggested in his speech, and sleep well at night knowing you are no longer “undocumented.” In addition, with a work permit, you can obtain a social security card and a driver’s license.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — DACA

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or “DACA” was originally passed in 2012 and allows those who were brought as children to the U.S. and who are either now studying in school or already graduated from high school to obtain a work permit.

The original requirements are as follows:

  • You entered the U.S. before turning 16.
  • You have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
  • You were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and on the day you requested DACA.
  • You are currently in school or have already graduated and obtained your diploma or GED.
  • You have no felonies or “significant misdemeanors.”
  • You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.

With the new laws that have just been passed, President Obama has proposed new requirements that would expand DACA to allow applicants of any age to apply as long as they entered the U.S. before turning 16 and have been in the U.S. since January 1, 2010. The work permit would also be extended to 3 years instead of 2.

Can I get a green card through these programs?

The short answer is, no. However, for many people it is a possibility if the following are true:

  • You have a spouse or child over the age of 21 who is a U.S. citizen.
  • You are able to obtain a visa (“advanced parole”) to your home country for humanitarian, educational or professional reasons.

By far, the most common case I now have are DACA (or soon-to-be DAPA) clients who wish to get their green card. I help them do this by first getting their DACA (or soon their DAPA) approved. This now allows them to be “in status” in the U.S. which makes them eligible for a “visa” (Advanced Parole, Form I-131). However, the visa will only be granted if certain humanitarian, educational or employment reasons exist. The most common example is when they have family members who are sick or otherwise have some type of emergency.

If we can get the visa approved, you can leave the U.S. and come back into the country lawfully. This allows you to then apply for your green card under Section 245(a) of the INA. You do not have to go to Ciudad Juarez (or your consulate in your home country), nor do you have to do a waiver!

Given the current laws, this is my #1 recommended way to obtain a green card for many of my clients. This is a very technical process requiring the expertise of an attorney.

“Mr. Sweeney represented my mother in the process of obtaining her Green Card. He and his staff were courteous, professional,timely and supportive. I highly recommend Mr. Sweeney and his team for anyone who needs legal representation for immigration.”

Angela Pap


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