Expanding Prosecutorial Discretion

300px-ParentChildIcon.svg_The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the memorandum detailing President Obama’s executive actions exercising prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children (DACA) and with respect to certain individuals who are the parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents (DAPA).

A. Expanding DACA: remove the age cap and grant work authorization for three years

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson directed the immigration services to expand the existing DACA program by removing the age cap. DACA will apply to all otherwise eligible immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 2010 as children under the age of 16, regardless of how old they were in June 2012 or are today. The previous age restriction (under 31 years old at the time of the announcement) will no longer apply.

DACA and the accompanying employment authorization will be granted for three years. This change applies to all first-time applications as well as applications for renewal effective November 24, 2014.

B. Expanding Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)

USCIS will establish a process similar to DACA, which will extend prosecutorial discretion to individuals who have, on November 20, 2014, a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010; and are physically present in the U.S. on the date of this memorandum (November 20, 2014) and at the time of making a request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS.

Applicants will also be eligible to apply for work authorization, which will be valid for three years. The work authorization and biometrics fees currently amount to $465. Deferred action will be granted on a case-by-case basis.


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