On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions, one of which was Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents otherwise known as DAPA. This executive action is a discretionary decision made by immigration authorities to not deport a parent of a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident from the United States for three years. Additionally, the parent would also receive a three-year Employment Authorization Document which would allow the parent to legally work in the United States and get a drivers license. The decision to grant deferred action would be determined on a case by case basis. Parents would have to have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010 and not be an enforcement priority for removal.
However, 26 states, including Florida, filed a lawsuit alleging that these executive actions where an illegal attempt by President Obama to have millions of undocumented immigrants temporarily avoid deportation. As a result of the lawsuit, DAPA was never implemented. Almost a year after the President announced DAPA, on November 9, 2015, a federal court of appeals agreed to keep the program on hold. President Obama’s administration quickly filed an appeal, hoping the United States Supreme Court will hear the case before President Obama leaves office. The DAPA program’s fate is now in the hands of the Supreme Court but in the meantime, families continue to deal with the reality of separating as many undocumented family members continue to get deported. If you or someone in your family is facing the reality or potential of deportation, contact our office to determine how we may be able to help.
***UPDATE*** On January 19, 2016, the Supreme Court announced it will review President Obama’s immigration actions this term which means a decision will likely be issued in June 2016.