On November 20, 2014, many people watched President Obama make a formal announcement regarding the administrative relief he was willing to provide to help 4.5 million undocumented immigrants come out of the shadows and apply for work authorization and protection from deportation. He offered up deferred action to those who qualify through an expanded DACA program and also a new program, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). The new action – DAPA – will basically shield immigrant parents from deportation.
While this announcement is a far cry from Comprehensive Immigration Reform, it is a step in the right direction. It is also a cue for millions of people in the country to get busy. From the staff at DHS who will figure out all of the nuts and bolts in order to implement the executive order to USCIS who will have to hire staff to adjudicate and process the applications. And not to mention the legal practitioners who will have to ramp up services to prepare and process those 4.5 million applications to the actual beneficiaries (the immigrants) who will have to collect the evidence to prove they qualify for relief. It’s time for anyone who is directly affected by this announcement to get busy.
As I listened to the commentary, analysis, and debate that followed Obama’s executive action, I immediately started thinking about what needs to be done at our agency in order to prepare for an unknown number of people who might come to us for legal assistance. I also started thinking of a “to do list” in my head; a list that started with getting trained on both programs. My to do list also included the need to network with others legal providers upstate and to also team up with Gary Liao, ONA Legal Counsel, so he can assist our efforts with outreach and free legal consultations. Overall, we need to be ready to pre-screen potential clients as soon as possible and then give them their own to do list – a list they hopefully already have a head start on.
While Catholic Charities will be offering direct services and representation for both DAPA and the expanded DACA program, the following information is for potential DAPA applicants.
DAPA – what are the qualifications?
- Parents of a US citizen or legal permanent resident child as of November 20, 2014 – “child” can be a minor or adult and single or married;
- Continuously resided in the US from January 1, 2010, to the present;
- Physically present in the US on November 20, 2014; and,
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or 3 or more misdemeanor offenses.
The DAPA “ To Do List”
- Save money for preparing and filing your application.
- Get proof of who you are – obtain birth certificate, passport or other photo ID, or a matricula consular or other type of government-issued ID. Get foreign documents translated into English.
- Gather proof you are the parent of a child who is a US citizen or LPR – this can include your son’s or daughter’s birth certificate or US passport, naturalization certificate or green card. Get foreign documents translated into English.
- Gather proof to show you have been in the US continuously since January 1, 2010 (this can include financial records, school records, medical records, letters, bills, rent payment receipts, passport with admission stamp, copies of money order receipts, bank statements, filed income taxes).
- Gather any criminal records you have. We suggest you obtain a certificate of disposition for any arrests you have.
- Get pre-screened – Catholic Charities is offering free legal consultations to pre-screen potential DAPA applicants. Call (607) 272-5062 to schedule an appointment.