DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents)

For many immigrants, Los Angeles is a city that glimmers with opportunity. It’s the second-largest city in the United States, making it an extremely popular place for immigrants to live and work. Whether you’ve come to Los Angeles for a job, to study, or to reunite with family members, living in LA in the heart of the American entertainment industry, surrounded by iconic landmarks such as the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory, can be the embodiment of the American dream.

For some immigrants, though, daily life in LA can be filled with risk and fear. If you came to the United States without the proper documentation, you may have been living in California without any immigration status. Living in the shadows, you might constantly be worried about being picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), put in immigration court, and deported. You may also be very worried about your ability to work and earn a living. And, if you’ve been here for many years you may have U.S. citizen or green card holding children, so you may be worried about the impact of your lack of immigration status on their lives, as well.

If this sounds like your situation, keep reading. Sadly DAPA never came into existence. But the experienced LA immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Joshua Goldstein can help you come up with alternative immigration options to protect you and your family from deportation and achieve your immigration goals. 

What was DAPA?

After years and years of trying to get lawmakers to enact comprehensive immigration reform, many people grew frustrated with Congress’ lack of progress on on the issue. Then, in November 2014, President Obama took action to push immigration reform forward and provide the parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders with a small amount of relief.  

What was President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration all about?

In November 2014, President Obama issued executive actions on immigration announcing multiple initiatives. One of these initiatives was Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. It was supposed to provide the parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders with the right to deferred action. Another initiative was expanded DACA, otherwise known as the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program enacted in 2012. This was meant to expand the eligibility criteria of the original DACA program to make it available to more people.

What does “deferred action” mean? Is it a legal immigration status?

Deferred action is not an immigration status. It’s a temporary grace period – a period of time when you can stay in the United States without constantly being worried about being deported. During this grace period, you would be allowed to remain in the United States and apply for a work permit.

Who killed DAPA?

Today, the DAPA program is effectively dead. It was killed by a one-two punch:  the first punch was a partisan lawsuit, filed by Republican-led states that resulted in an injunction issued by a Republican-appointed judge. The second punch, the coup de grâce, was Donald Trump’s election to the Presidency.  With executive power in the hands of Trump, a man whose political personal has been singularly defined by hostility towards immigrants, any remaining hope for DAPA’s survival is gone.

DAPA Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for DAPA as outlined under President Obama’s executive action included:

  • Being the parent of a child who was born on or before November 20, 2014 (the day DAPA was announced);
  • The child must be a green card holder or United States citizen (being the parent of a child who is a recipient of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals does not satisfy the eligibility requirements);
  • The parent must have been physically present in the United States, continuously, since January 1, 2010;
  • The parent must have been physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014 and not have had any legal immigration status in the United States on that date; and
  • The parent must not have committed any serious crimes that could potentially result in deportation.

Benefits Under DAPA

Had DAPA been implemented, individuals who were approved for DAPA would be entitled to receive the following two benefits:

  • A valid Employment Authorization Document, or EAD card, for three years (individuals with EAD cards can apply for social security cards and driver’s licenses in certain states); and
  • Protection from deportation while it is valid.

As designed, DAPA would not have provided a path to citizenship.

Attorney Goldstein can help you find alternatives to DAPA

If you have a child who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder and you want to be able to live and work in the United States, while you may not be able to apply for DAPA right now, you might be eligible for another immigration benefit. To find out if you have other immigration options available to you, make an appointment to speak with experienced immigration lawyer Joshua Goldstein today by calling our Los Angeles offices at 213-262-2000.