On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a plethora of immigration benefits to fix many of the problems with US immigration law. One of these was to expand deferred action to provide relief to some undocumented parents of US citizen and legal permanent resident children (DAP). Deferred action is a type of prosecutorial discretion whereby the US government provides an individual with temporary lawful status in the US and relief from deportation. Generally, deferred action is granted to individuals who have not committed serious crimes and who do not pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. Deferred action does not confer any lawful immigration status in the US, such as legal permanent residency or US citizenship.
The following are the eligibility requirements that the applicants must satisfy for relief under DAP:
- have a son or daughter who is a US citizen or lawful permanent resident as of November 20, 2014;
- have continuously resided in the US since before January 1, 2010;
- are physically present in the US as of November 20, 2014, and as of the time of requesting deferred action;
- have no lawful immigration status in the US as of November 20, 2014;
- are not priorities for enforcement of deportation pursuant to US Department of Homeland Security’s apprehension, detention and removal policies; and
- do not present any other factors that make it inappropriate to grant deferred action.
Immigration officers will review these criteria but the ultimate decision on granting deferred action will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants for DAP must submit biometrics to USCIS and undergo background checks. Applicants are eligible to apply for employment authorization. Even applicants who are in removal proceedings or who are subject to a final order of removal are eligible to apply with USCIS. A grant of deferred action will be for three years. The total filing fee is $465 and there will be limited fee exemptions. USCIS will start accepting applications no later than 180 days from November 20, 2014.