President on Deferred Action for Parental Accountability

As has been widely reported, President Barack Obama made a nationally televised speech, on November 20, 2014, announcing his plans for a series of executive actions on immigration policy. The centerpiece of his immigration proposal is the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, which will provide temporary immigration relief to qualifying undocumented foreign nationals.

Presidential Executive Action

The President is seeking to address deficiencies in the current immigration system through a series of executive actions. These changes are motivated by well-recognized problems, combined with the failure of Congress to pass immigration legislation addressing these issues. The President’s speech reflected a desire to focus enforcement on criminals, as well as the recognition of the impossibility of comprehensive removals (deportations) of millions of undocumented aliens who are living in the United States.

Overview on DAPA

Those who are approved for the DAPA program will be shielded from being deported for three years, and will also be provided with temporary work authorization. It does not provide permanent status, nor does it offer or an independent basis for qualifying to become a permanent resident of the United States.

Eligibility Requirements for DAPA

The requirements for individuals to qualify for DAPA are that they:

  • must have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010;
  • must be the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident son or daughter (no age restriction), as of November 20, 2014;
  • must be physically present in the U.S. without lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014;
  • must not fall within the classes of individuals designated as immigration enforcement priorities (e.g., felons) in the memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on November 20, 2014.

Application Process for DAPA

As of the time of this writing, it is not yet possible to apply for DAPA. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expected to initiate the program by May 2015. In the meantime, foreign nationals who plan to apply for DAPA may wish to begin collecting documentation to establish eligibility. Such documents may include: proof of identity; proof of parentage of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident son or daughter; and proof of continuous residence for the required time period.

Avoid Scams!

Immigration programs like DAPA typically prompt unscrupulous individuals to try to take advantage of vulnerable foreign nationals. Until there is an official announcement, no applications can be filed. It is important to utilize reliable sources for information and assistance in immigration matters. Read more about how to identify and avoid immigration scams on the USCIS WebSite.


Unless and until the President and Congress can come to an agreement on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, stakeholders are unlikely to see anything but fairly modest changes to immigration law, such as the DAPA program, that can be made via executive action. MurthyDotCom will continue to closely track these changes, to provide readers with updates and analysis as soon as new information is released.


Copyright © 2014, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.