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Deferred Action

How the President is protecting two different groups with the same program

Deferred Action is an immigration status that has been used for years to protect a person from deportation. For example, a person who offers to testify against a criminal could receive deferred action as a result. Offering this protection has always existed under the authority to decide how to enforce immigration laws.

Facing inaction from congressional Republicans, President Obama is using this status to protect two separate groups of people from deportation proceedings. Everyone agrees that the immigration system is broken, offering temporary help is a step in the right direction to fixing it.

On June 15, 2012 President Obama announced that USCIS would grant deferred action to people who arrived in the United States before turning 16 years old as long as they meet certain requirements. This program is known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

USCIS may consider you for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) if you:

  1. Entered the United States before turning 16 years old;
  2. Have resided in the United States continuously since January 11, 2010;
  3. Have graduated high school, finished a GED, or are currently in school; and
  4. Have not committed certain criminal offenses.

On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced that he would offer deferred action to parents of United States citizens and parents of Lawful Permanent Residents. This program is known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents).

USCIS can consider you for deferred action for parents (DAPA) if you:

  1. Have resided continuously in the United States since January 1, 2010;
  2. On November 20, 2014 were the parent of a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident; and
  3. Are not an enforcement priority for removal from the United States, under the November 20, 2014, Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum.

In every immigration case, and to apply for deferred action, the applicant must demonstrate that they qualify for the benefit and that they deserve the benefit. Receiving deferred action is a privilege and is not a right. Together with your immigration attorney you have to prepare a packet of documents showing that you should be approved.

For more information, visit our site about what your own deferred action lawyer can do for you.