FAQs About the New Immigration Executive Action: Deferred Action for Parents and a Warning Regarding Immigration Fraud

As you may know, on November 20, 2014, President Obama announced new immigration programs that will grant administrative relief to nearly 4.9 million individuals living and working in the United States.  One of these programs, Deferred Action for Parents (“DAP”), will grant deferred action—which provides protection from deportation and work authorization for a period of 3 years—to eligible parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Deferred Action for Parents

A summary of the new administrative relief can be found here.  Below are some frequently asked questions about DAP:

  • DAP requires continuous residence in the United States since January 1, 2010. If a person left the United States for a period of time, does he or she still meet the continuous residence requirement?

 “Continuous residence” means that the person has maintained residence within the United States since January 1, 2010.  Generally, departures from the United States that are brief, casual and innocent in nature will not break continuous residence.  However, extended absences outside of the United States can break an individual’s continuous residence. 

Absences of more than six months but less than one year during the time that continuous residence is required are presumed to break continuous residence.  Examples of evidence demonstrating that residence was not broken include, but are not limited to:

  • Documents showing that the individual did not terminate her employment in the United States or obtain employment while abroad;​
  • Documents showing that the individual’s immediate family remained in the United States​; and/or
  • Documents showing that the individual retained full access to her home in the​United States.​

For more information on continuous residence, see the USCIS Policy Manual, Chapter 3: Continuous Residence, found here.  We will provide more information on continuous residence and other issues once the program is implemented and more guidance is issued about the application process and requirements.

  • DAP requires that an applicant not be a “priority for removal.” What does “priority for removal” mean?

Persons who,

  • are threats to national security, border security, and public safety, including individuals who have participated in gang activity; have been convicted of a felony or an aggravated felony under immigration law; or
  • have been convicted of three or more misdemeanors, a “significant” misdemeanor, or are a new immigration violator; or
  • have other immigration violations or a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014.
  • Can I apply for DAP now?

No.  Applications cannot be filed at this time because the DAP program has not yet been implemented.  The application period will likely begin in May 2015, or approximately 180 days from the November 20, 2014 announcement.

Beware of anyone offering to file DAP applications for you and your family members, and do not pay anyone money in exchange for filing an application or in exchange for promises to have your application ready before the application period begins.   

California Attorney General Warns Immigrants About Fraud

Individuals who are not lawyers but represent themselves as qualified to offer legal advice or services concerning immigration matters routinely defraud members of immigrant communities. California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a consumer alert about scams targeting immigrants and their families. The alerts in English can be found here and in Spanish here.  If you plan to file an application for DAP, be sure to speak with a reputable lawyer or nonprofit organization about your situation.

For more information about the executive action on immigration please visit: www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction. For resources and referrals visit: www.adminrelief.org and www.iAmerica.org.

By Monica Guizar | December 3, 2014

Legal Developments