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Deferred Action for Parental Accountability

On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced a new Deferred Action program called “Deferred Action for Parental Accountability,” also known as DAPA. First discovered in the 1970s by founding partner of Wildes & Weinberg P.C., Attorney Leon Wildes, Deferred Action is a program that allows law-abiding individuals to remain in the United States and avoid deportation if they are elderly, seriously ill or undergoing severe hardship. While working on the deportation case of famous Beatles member John Lennon, Mr. Wildes discovered the government’s unpublished practice of granting deportable aliens non-priority status to avoid their removal in sympathetic cases.

This practice was expanded by President Obama on June 15, 2012, to include children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age. This date was chosen by the President due to its historical significance as the 30th anniversary of Plyler v. Doe, a Supreme Court decision barring public schools from charging undocumented immigrant children tuition. The program, entitled “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA, provided relief of removal for children who entered the United States prior to the age of 16, have lived continuously in the United States since 15 July, 2007, are pursuing an education here in the United States, and have not been convicted of any felonies or serious misdemeanors. This program became widely successful and prevented thousands of undocumented children, deep in their pursuit of the American Dream, from being sent back to their country of origin to a life of destitution and violence.

With a contrary legislative deadlock in Congress over how to approach comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama attempted to expand DACA and provide relief from removal to undocumented parents of United States citizens. A person is eligible for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), if, as of November 20, 2014, they have a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, have continuously resided in the U.S. since before January 1, 2010, were physically present in the U.S. on November 10, 2014, and are not an enforcement priority under the Policies for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum dated November 20, 2104. This program would allow those who qualify to obtain work authorization and social security numbers, essentially removing them from the shadows and allowing them to participate in normal society without fear of arrest and deportation.

Unfortunately, in December of 2014, Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas seeking to block the program, along with the DACA expansion. On February 16, 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a temporary injunction blocking the program from going into effect while the lawsuit proceeds. The case continues to linger in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and will most likely end at the Supreme Court. The Obama Administration maintains that this program is lawful and many are hopeful that the program will survive its voyage through the federal court system. For those seeking to apply in the future, the time is now to gather documents and prepare for the time when the application will be released, hopefully in the near future.

If you or someone you know may qualify for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, please visit our Immigration 101 page or contact Managing Partner Michael Wildes at [email protected].* This article is based on information available as of its publication and is not intended to be all-inclusive or to furnish advice in a particular case. We are not responsible for any changes in regulations that may occur subsequent to publication. Please feel free to contact our office for further information and advice.

Michael J. Wildes, is the managing partner of Wildes & Weinberg P.C. Mr. Wildes is a former federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn (1989-1993). Mr. Wildes has testified on Capitol Hill in connection with anti-terrorism legislation and is internationally renowned for his successful representation of several defectors who have provided difficult-to-obtain national security information. He is frequently a legal commentator/analyst for network television. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York and teaches Business Immigration Law. From 2004 through 2010, Mr. Wildes was also the mayor of Englewood, New Jersey—where he resides. Wildes & Weinberg P.C. has offices in New York, New Jersey and Florida. If you would like to contact Michael Wildes please email him at [email protected] and visit the firm’s website at www.wildeslaw.com.

By Michael J. Wildes, Esq.

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