NOTE: This article does not contain the most current information. The government is NOT accepting applications for DAPA or expanded DACA. Only DACA applications pursuant to the 2012 guidelines are currently being accepted. Please see: http://knowingimmigrationlaw.com/dhs-will-not-begin-accepting-expanded-daca-applications-on-february-18-2015/
As previously reported, on November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced a series of executive actions to crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a security background check and pay taxes in order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of removal (deportation).
One of the initiatives included expanding the already existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to people of any current age who entered the United States before they turned 16 and lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010. The expanded DACA allows for the granting of a work authorization document for three years, instead of two under the previous program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting requests for expanded DACA on February 18, 2015.
Under the expanded DACA, individuals will apply if:
- They entered the United States before the age of 16;
- Have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, rather than the prior requirement of June 15, 2007;
- Are of any age (the requirement to have been born prior to June 15, 1981 was removed);
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Note that the initiative for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, also referred to as Deferred Action for Parental Awareness (DAPA) will not be implemented until mid-May.
Individuals who wish to apply under the expanded DACA program should collect documents to show that they meet the above requirements, including but not limited to:
- Documents to prove identity and age – passport, birth certificate, school ID, state ID, military ID, etc.;
- Documents to prove physical presence and entry to the U.S. – I-94, passport stamp, travel itinerary, boarding pass, tax returns, employment records, medical records, school records, religious records, community records, memberships, etc.
- Criminal records (if applicable) – police records, charging documents, plea, disposition, termination of probation, etc.;
- Immigration records – if you do not have your immigration records, they can be obtained from the government through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request which can take several months;
The above list is not exclusive and further documents may be appropriate depending on the specific facts of the case.
Beware of scams and the unauthorized practice of law. You may follow the government’s progress in implementing the initiatives by visiting the official USCIS website.