On November 20, 2014, President Obama took executive action that would make significant changes to the immigration system. The president’s immigration action would grant work permits to millions of immigrants who had previously been ineligible for lawful status and also makes other changes to the immigration system under a program known as DAPA. It would also expand the DACA program already in place. DAPA and expanded DACA are currently on hold pending a decision by the Supreme Court as to whether the programs can proceed. A decision is expected by June 2016. More information about these programs is below. You may also contact our immigration law office for a consultation at (415) 627-9161 or email us.

Deferred Action (DAPA)

President Obama’s DAPA program would grant work permits to millions of immigrants who had previously been ineligible for lawful status. The order allows certain people to apply for Deferred Action, a program that allows a person to remain in the U.S. during the time period the program is in place. It also allows those individuals to apply for work permits. An individual with a work permit can obtain a social security card and apply for a driver license.

Under the program, you may request Deferred Action under the new program if you:

  • Have been present in the U.S. since January 1, 2010
  • Are present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014
  • Are the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who was born on or before November 20, 2014
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors

DAPA is currently on hold pending a decision by the United States Supreme Court

Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

The president’s action also makes significant changes to preexisting DACA. The new requirements are:

  • Have been present in the U.S. since January 1, 2010
  • Are present in the US on November 20, 2014
  • Are currently in school, have graduated 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
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors
  • Under expanded DACA there is no longer a maximum or minimum age to qualify for DACA.

Expanded DACA is currently on hold pending a decision by the United States Supreme Court.

Expansion of I-601A Provisional Waiver Program

Obama also expanded the provisional waiver program to allow consideration of hardship to spouses and parents who are lawful permanent residents. Under the earlier provisional program, only hardship to U.S. citizens was considered.

Parole in Place

The president’s order also expands a program called “parole in place.” Individuals who have signed up for the military or the Delayed Entry Program also called the Delayed Enlistment Program may qualify for parole in place. The Delayed Entry Program is a program whereby individuals going into active duty in the United States Armed Forces enlist first in the DEP before they ship out to Basic Training, or “boot camp.” We will continue to provide updates regarding this program as more information is released.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Obama’s executive action permanent?

Unclear. An “executive action” is not a law. It is a policy change by the president that could be changed by a future president. In addition, certain members of Congress have vowed to take action to stop Obama’s executive action.
Our office is following this closely and you are welcome to contact one of our immigration lawyers for more information.

Can I get a green card?

Under the previous DACA program, many individuals were able to obtain advance parole (a “travel document”), travel outside the U.S. and re-enter, and then obtain permanent residence through certain U.S. citizen family members. This will also possible under the new program. However, it is critically important that you speak to an immigration attorney before travelling outside the U.S. to make you don’t jeopardize your status.

Can I get a social security card and driver license?

Yes, if you are granted a work permit under one of the new programs, you can obtain a social security card and driver license.

What paperwork do I need to apply for Deferred Action?

  • An identity document such as a birth certificate or passport
  • Documents showing 5 years continuous presence. (Documents may include medical records, financial records, school records, employment records, bank statements, transcripts, etc).
  • Documents showing you were present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014
  • If applying as the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child, you will need your child’s birth certificate or other legal document showing you are the parent
  • If you are applying because you entered when you were under 16 and went to school here, you will need proof that you graduated 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
  • Filing fee for U.S. CIS (CIS has not yet announced the amount of the fee)
  • Two Passport photos
  • If you have ever been arrested, you will need to submit certified records about the arrest, and your history must be reviewed by an immigration attorney before applying.