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  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter

  POSTING DATE: DECEMBER 1, 2014
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This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2014  
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: www.ImmigrateToday.com or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Basic Facts You Need To Know About The New 
Executive Action Immigration Programs 
With the recent announcement of the President’s Executive Action Reforms for Parents of U.S. Citizens and Residents called DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program) and expanded DACA (Deferred Action under the Childhood Arrivals Program) comes a lot of excitement and relief, but also quite a bit of confusion about exactly who qualifies. 

Some issues are clear and some are not. And while a few issues can only be answered once the specific details are released, many regarding eligibility requirements can be easily answered. 
Here’s a run-down of some basic facts to answer some of the most frequent questions I have encountered over the past several weeks since the announcement:

Parents of U.S. Citizen and Residents - DAPA program - Answers to Questions:  
Click Here to See More Details about the DAPA Program

What is DAPA status?
DAPA status allows Immigrants to obtain work permits and to temporarily legally remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation for a three year period.

Can I apply now?
No. You should not filed applications at this time - the new programs have not started yet and applications are not being accepted by the USCIS- beware of scams to take your money and promise you quick approval!
Do Step-parents qualify?
While we do not yet have the final eligibility details, Step-parents who meet the legal criteria for immigration purposes will likely be eligible under the new DAPA program. Under Immigration regulations, a Step-parent qualifies as a parent as long as the U.S. Citizen or U.S. Resident child was under age 18 when the child’s biological parent and the Step-parent married. 

Do I have to prove that I have filed taxes in order to qualify?
No, Immigrants do not need to prove that they have filed tax returns in the past in order to qualify. Parents only need to file tax returns in the future after they are granted DAPA status.
Do Step-parents qualify?
While we do not yet have the final eligibility details, Step-parents who meet the legal criteria for immigration purposes will likely be eligible under the new DAPA program. Under Immigration regulations, a Step-parent qualifies as a parent as long as the U.S. Citizen or U.S. Resident child was under age 18 when the child’s biological parent and the Step-parent married. 

Do I have to prove that I have filed taxes in order to qualify?
No, Immigrants do not need to prove that they have filed tax returns in the past in order to qualify. Parents only need to file tax returns in the future after they are granted DAPA status.

I have a U.S. Citizen child born in the U.S. but we do not live there, do I still qualify?
No, Parents must have entered the U.S. on or before Jan 1, 2010 and continued to live in the U.S. since that date. Parents who have not lived in the U.S. since Jan 1, 2010 do not qualify.

I came to the U.S. after Jan 1, 2010 and my child is a U.S. Citizen, can I still qualify?
No, unfortunately, only Parents who came to the U.S. on or before Jan 1, 2010 qualify. Parents who came after that date will need to wait until Congress passes a comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill which includes more classes of Immigrants, or until the U.S. Citizen child reaches age 21and can sponsor his or her Parent for Residency. 

Will applying for DAPA prevent my U.S. Citizen child from applying for my Residency once they turn age 21?
No, as long as a Parent entered the U.S. legally, once the child reaches age 21, he or she can sponsor the Parent for Residency , even though the Parent has obtained DAPA status.

Will applying for DAPA prevent me from getting Residency if I marry a U.S. Citizen?
No, as long as a Parent entered the U.S. legally, he or she remains eligible to apply for Residency through a U.S. Citizen spouse, even after obtaining DAPA status.

I have been living in the U.S. for over 6 years. My child will get her residency through her U.S. Citizen father next year. Once she becomes a Resident, am I eligible to apply for DAPA status at that time?
While not certain until we receive the details, likely no. The guidelines announced appear to require that the U.S. Citizen or U.S. Resident child status exist as of November 20, 2014.

I have been in the U.S. since 2009 working for an employer who sponsored me for an H-1B work visa which expires in 2015. I have a 2 year old U.S. Citizen child, can I still qualify?
No, to qualify you must not be in legal immigration status as of November 20, 2014. As long as you have continued to work under the terms of the H-1B visa up through 20, 2014, you are not considered to be out of legal status and do not qualify under the current program even if you fall out of legal status later in 2015.
Expanded DACA program - Answers to Questions:
Click Here To See More Details About the new DACA program   

Does the new program still require children to have entered the U.S. before age 16 or has that requirement been eliminated?
Under the new expanded DACA program, only the current age limit has been eliminated, the requirement for entry before age 16 remains. That means that as long as a child entered the U.S. before age 16, their current age is irrelevant and they will still remain eligible no matter how old they are at the time of application.

If I am eligible under both the DACA and DAPA programs, which one should I choose?
The new DACA program will be starting as soon as February 2015, while the DAPA for Parents may not start until May 2015. So I would advise taking advantage of DACA program since you will receive benefits sooner. 

DACA & DAPA - Answers to Questions:
Click Here To See More Details About the Executive Action program for DAPA & DACA

Is the Executive Action announced by President Obama a real program or just something that may be available in the future?
Both the (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program) called DAPA and the expanded DACA programs are real government programs like the special program implemented by the Obama Administration for Dreamers, called DACA. The only uncertainly right now is the exact start date, which will be announced in early 2015.

I have a 3 misdemeanor traffic violations issued to me by the officer on the same day for driving without a license, and no valid registration and no insurance and I had to go to court and pay the fine, does that disqualify me for the Executive Action?
You will still likely qualify. Under the existing DACA program, only applicants who have 3 or more misdemeanors which occurred from separate incidents are disqualified. Misdemeanor violations arising from the same incident will likely allow you to remain eligible.

Do I have to be out of status in the U.S. since Jan 1, 2010?
No, as long as you did not have legal immigration status on November 20, 2014, you will qualify. For instance, an Immigrant who came to the U.S. legally on Jan 1, 2010 on an F-1 student visa who later quit school in 2013 is considered to be out of status on November 20, 2014 and would remain eligible for the new program

Can I apply if I am outside the U.S.? If not, can I enter the U.S. now and apply?
No, to qualify you must have entered the U.S. on or before Jan 1, 2010 and continued to live in the U.S. since that date. Entering the U.S. now will not allow you to be eligible under the new programs.

I have a final order of deportation from 2005, will I still qualify for DAPA?
Under the DACA for Childhood Arrivals program, Immigrants with final order of deportation remain eligible. We have good reason to believe that DAPA parents with deportation orders will remain eligible as well.
Now That Executive Action Is Here - Get Ready To Prove Your Eligibility
Now that the President’s Executive Action programs have been announced and will soon be implemented, this is the perfect time to begin making preparations by gathering vital documentation and information which the USCIS will require in order to prove eligibility under the new program. 

To qualify under the President’s Executive Action programs, applicants must provide documentation to the USCIS which includes proof of identity, proof of the date of entry into the U.S., proof of continuous physical presence in the U.S. since their last entry, including up until the day the date required under the new law, and documentation for any arrests or criminal conduct of any kind, including driving without a license.
As with Immigration programs in the past, the most common reason for USCIS denials is always lack of documentation. Often, the most difficult task immigrants face is providing documentation to prove not only their date of entry into the U.S., but additional evidence to prove that they have been residing in the U.S. since that time. With Deferred Action cases under the Childhood Arrivals Program, proving a child’s date of entry into the U.S. is fairly easy, since school transcripts provide official details with dates of attendance. However, for adults, the task is often much more difficult, especially when they have become experts at “keeping a low profile” to avoid immigration detection. 

Therefore, in order to avoid delays and possible disqualification due to lack of evidence, immigrants should begin compiling documentation, now, which can be used to prove eligibility once the new policy is implemented early next year. For identity and marital status, Birth, Marriage and Divorce Certificates should be located and translated if not in English. Translations do not have to be certified and can be done by anyone who is fluent in both languages. The best way to prove the date of entry into the U.S. is a Passport & I-94 card. Those who have lost their I-94 cards can order a duplicate now, which takes 3-4 months to receive. For Immigrants who did not enter the U.S. legally, it is vital that they gather documentation from as close to the date of entry as possible, continuing to present, to prove entry and continued physical presence in the U.S..

Those with a criminal background should obtain Certified Police Reports and Court dispositions through the Clerk of Court’s office for each instance of criminal conduct or through a private document services and in all instances where an individual has a criminal history or Immigration Deportation or Denial of any kind, consultation with a qualified Immigration attorney is strongly advised. 

Our office is assisting clients to obtain duplicate I-94 cards, criminal and immigration records and to compile the documentation and evidence necessary under the new program. We will provide you with document lists and advice about what is specifically required in your case, based upon your particular circumstances. 

So don’t wait until the last minute, when it will be much more difficult and stressful to obtain the documents you need to qualify. Begin now and start getting your document and information together in an organized way. The new programs will be starting soon……

You can find out more about documents and information you will need to qualify for the Executive Action DAPA or new DACA programs by calling our office at: 954-382-5378.
Helpful Immigration Hints You Can Use
Ebola Outbreak Leads To TPS Status 
for Nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone 
As a direct result of the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus crisis in some West African countries, the Dept of Homeland Security has announced the designation of Nationals from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. 
Effective Nov. 21, 2014 Nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone who are currently inside the U.S. can apply for TPS status and receive a work permit. A 180-day TPS registration period began Nov. 21, 2014 and runs through May 20, 2015. The program also includes Liberians who are currently covered under the two-year extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) based on President Obama’s Sept. 26, 2014 policy. 
Immigration How To:
How Do I know Whether It’s a Scam?
Since the announcement of the new Executive Action Immigration programs, scammers are busy thinking up new ways to cheat innocent Immigrants out of their hard earned money and finding ways to prey on their hopes and dreams! Immigrants are one of the most often victimized groups, since Immigrants often do not understand the law and how the systems works - a fact that scammers take full advantage of. 

My best advice is always to follow the wisdom our parents told us: “if it sounds too good to be true – it is”. Another important thing to remember is to follow your instincts and logic. If an Immigration attorney advises you that you are not eligible under the current program, don’t believe some seemingly well meaning scammer asking you for money in exchange for making sure that you do qualify – it’s a lie! Stop and think, do your research, don’t get caught up in the excitement and become a victim and always, always get a second opinion.
Avoid Falling Victim To Executive Action Scams:
I commonly hear stories from many Immigrants who come to me after being scammed, and in almost every instance they tell me that in their heart, they knew something was wrong, but they simply did not listen! We can all learn from that. 

Click on the links below to read some good information about common scams to avoid:

USCIS Scam Warning
Fake IRS Scam
​Stories From Scam Victims