Frequently Asked Questions
President Obama’s executive action on immigration opens the door for millions of qualified foreign nationals without lawful status to apply for employment authorization and protection from deportation. Here are some of the more common questions that we receive, along with brief answers. Every situation is unique, so contact an immigration attorney at Antonini & Cohen to learn whether you possibly qualify for these new programs.
What does this Executive Order mean for undocumented immigrants?
There are two main benefits.
- It offers employment authorization and a temporary legal status for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders.
- It expands the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to cover more individuals who entered the U.S. before the age of 16.
Can anyone apply for relief?
When can I apply for relief?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not begin accepting applications until later in 2015, and the specific dates will depend on the program. While you can start preparing documentation of your eligibility now, beware of scams that promise to help you actually submit an application before the application process becomes available.
What can I do starting today to prepare?
First, gather documents that establish your identity, relationship to a qualifying U.S. citizen or green card holder (if you are applying for DAPA), and residence in the United States since January 1, 2010. Then contact us to set up a meeting with an immigration attorney at Antonini & Cohen Immigration Law Group to speak with you in detail regarding your circumstances, review any documents you may have, confirm whether you qualify, discuss any potential issues or complications, and prepare for the application process.
How long do I need to be in the U.S. to qualify?
You must have been in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.
How do I receive updates?
You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to our email distribution list. We send out monthly newsletters and special announcements as new information becomes available. You can also sign up for updates on the USCIS website.
I’ve been convicted of a crime. Do I qualify?
To qualify for deferred action, you must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanor offenses. It is especially important to contact our immigration attorneys to review your specific circumstances if you have been arrested or convicted of any crime.
I’m the parent of a U.S. citizen, but she is over 18. Do I still qualify?
Yes, assuming that you meet the other criteria.
Does this mean that undocumented immigrants can now get green cards?
No. The executive order offers deferred action, which means that undocumented immigrants who qualify will receive a work permit as well as protection from deportation during the duration of the program. The President announced that DAPA benefits will last three years.
If my child received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), does that mean I can apply for Deferred Action for Parents (DAPA)?
Not unless your child subsequently received lawful permanent resident status (green card) or naturalized to become a U.S. citizen. The executive action applies to those who are parents of either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.