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What is DACA and DAPA?

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and DAPA stands for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability. The executive order relating to DACA was made in 2012 by President Obama for individuals who arrived in the United States without proper documentation or, who overstayed their visas as a result of their parents' actions. DACA is mistakenly referred to as the " Dream Act" -- a legislative proposal which has not become law. DACA may also be used as a defense in a deportation proceeding .

Deferred action may be granted to individuals who are in removal or deportation proceedings, or for individuals who have never been in removal proceedings . Once deferred action is conferred, the individual can apply for employment authorization and is considered legally present in the United States. This does not mean, however, that if deferred action is granted, that you will be given a green card . There is no direct path to a green card under DACA. Contact an Orange County immigration attorney to discuss your case.

Please note that the exact requirements for "Deferred Action for Parental Accountability" (DAPA), which were announced by President Obama in 2014 have not been enumerated yet. Generally, it is expected that undocumented parents of US citizens with no criminal history will not be deported and may gain work authorization. USCIS is tentatively scheduled to begin accepting applications for DAPA relief in May 2015.

Who Qualifies Under DACA?

To apply for DACA, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have been under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012.
  • You must have come to the United States when you were under 16 years old.
  • You must have continuously lived in the United States from June 15, 2007 to the present.
  • You must have entered the United States without inspection before June 15, 2012, or, if you overstayed a visa, the visa must have expired as of June 15, 2012.
  • You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012.
  • You must currently be present in the United States at the time of applying for deferred action.
  • You are currently in school, or have graduated from high school, or have obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the armed forces.
  • You have not been convicted of a felony offense or significant misdemeanor.

Contact an experienced Irvine, Mission Viejo, Anaheim or Santa Ana immigration attorney today to discuss the various factors determining your eligibility under DACA.

What Risks Exists when Applying Under DACA?

You should apply only after consulting a qualified Orange County immigration lawyer. If you are here unlawfully and USCIS or ICE finds that you do not meet the criteria for deferred action, you may be placed in removal ( deportation) proceedings. Also, DACA is entirely discretionary and may be revoked at any time.

What are the Benefits of Deferred Action?

If you are granted deferred action, you will be permitted to lawfully work in the United States. You can also apply for advance parole, allowing you to travel outside the United States, for reasons related to work or humanitarian reasons. Contact an Orange County immigration lawyer to discuss your case today. Our office proudly serves all of Southern California, including Santa Ana, Irvine, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Hills, Laguna Beach, Brea and many more Orange County cities.