Supreme Court Blocks DAPA & DACA Expansion

The Supreme Court has decided that the injunction blocking President Obama's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs will remain in place.  This ruling prevents the President's immigration programs from moving forward, which would have allowed millions of undocumented immigrants "temporary relief from deportation" and the ability apply for work authorization while they wait.

As a result of this injunction, millions of immigrants throughout this country will continue to wait in limbo for the opportunity to contribute to our communities and economy.  Rather than providing these “low enforcement priority” individuals with valid work authorization, which would allow them to come out of the shadows and take on better and more productive jobs, which would in turn immensely benefit our local, state, and national economies, we will continue to waste valuable resources on removing these well-established, productive U.S. residents from our country. 

The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that DACA and DAPA would increase the national gross domestic product (GDP) by nearly $60 billion over the next 10 years, payroll tax revenues would increase $22.6 billion in 5 years, and the solvency of the Social Security system would increase by $41 billion over 10 years as workers earn higher wages.  In Texas alone, if undocumented immigrants were able to receive work authorization the state’s tax revenue would increase by $338 million.

In Texas, 80% of those eligible for DACA and 78% of those eligible for DAPA have lived in the U.S. for over 10 years; 94% of those eligible for DAPA are employed; and 93% of those 18 years and older, eligible for DACA, have graduated from high school.  These are our neighbors, coworkers, and contributing members in our communities.  Failing to “temporarily" turn these individuals into productive members of society does not make any sense at all.

While this ruling is a significant setback for undocumented immigrants, it is important to note that it will not impact the original DACA program that was implemented in 2012.  Those eligible for DACA under the President's 2012 executive action may continue to seek renewal of their deferred action and work authorization.  Furthermore, this ruling does not prevent the next President from continuing the deferred action programs in the future or prevent the next President from pursuing DAPA or an expansion of DACA.  Ultimately, it will be up to the next administration (and hopefully Congress) to reform our immigration system and put in place an immigration program that benefits all Americans…documented AND undocumented.

DACA Expansion Applications Accepted Starting February 18th

USCIS has announced that it will begin accepting expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications on February 18, 2015.  Here's a quick look at some of the changes to the expanded DACA program.

  • No more requirement to be under 31 on June 15, 2010.  Individuals who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, no matter their current age, are now eligible for DACA so long as they have been continuously residing in the U.S. since January 1, 2010.
  • The date of entry to qualify for DACA has changed.  You must now have lived in the U.S. from January 1, 2010 until now to qualify.
  • First-time and renewal DACA applicants will now received deferred action and work permits for 3 years (instead of 2).  If you currently have DACA, though, your DACA is still only valid until the expiration date printed on the card.  

To qualify for DACA you still must meet all other eligibility requirements: 1) arrived in the U.S. before your 16th birthday; 2) be currently enrolled in school, graduated from high school or obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, and 3) have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or 3 or more misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

For additional questions on DACA or DAPA, please feel free to contact us or check out our recent FAQ.

Answers To Your Questions About DAPA & DACA

How and when do I apply for DACA or DAPA?

If you are newly eligible for DACA under the expanded criteria, USCIS will begin accepting applications on February 18, 2015.  If applying for deferred action as a parent (DAPA), USCIS expects to begin accepting applications by May 19, 2015.  Instructions for DAPA are still pending. Based on the evidence required for DACA applications, you will need documents that establish your identity, your relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident son or daughter, and your continuous residence in the U.S. since January 1, 2010. Also, all documents that are not in English need to be translated into English. 

Am I eligible for DAPA?  Will I be able to work?

To be eligible applicants will have to show they have been in the US since January 1, 2010;  they are a parent of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident born sometime before November 20, 2014; have no serious criminal history.  If approved the applicant may be able to apply for employment authorization by showing economic need. 

How long does DAPA last?

Three years, as with the new DACA application and renewal periods.

How has DACA eligibility been expanded?

Individuals who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, no matter their current age, are now eligible for DACA so long as they have been continuously residing in the U.S. since January 1, 2010. Prior to this announcement, applicants must have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012 and have been living in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007.

What about DACA recipients who already received a two-year renewal?

U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is currently considering ways to extend already issued two-year renewals and work authorizations to three years.  

After I apply, how long do I have to wait for a decision?

USCIS aims to complete all applications received by the end of 2015 before the end of 2016. USCIS will provide each applicant with a notification of receipt within 60 days of receiving the application. 

What will happen after 3 years?  Will the next President continue DACA and DAPA?

DACA and DAPA are both discretionary processes. A new president could continue or cancel either or both processes after 3 years. Only Congress can change the law. 

Can I apply for DACA or DAPA if I have been deported?

No.  DACA and DAPA only apply to qualified individuals present in the U.S.

Can I travel with DACA or DAPA?

It is expected that individuals granted DAPA may separately apply for a travel document (formally known as advance parole) under certain circumstances.  Please speak with a licensed attorney to evaluate your eligibility.

Will the state where I live give me an ID or drivers license because of DAPA?

Neither DACA nor DAPA require state authorities to issue state identification documents or driver's licenses. The decision whether or not to issue driver's licenses is made by each state individually, so check with your local department of motor vehicles to find out.

What if my case is denied or I fail to pass a background check?
Under USCIS's current policy, only cases involving criminal offenses, fraud, or a threat to national security or public safety will be referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation proceedings. Those who knowingly misrepresent or fail to disclose facts will not receive "favorable consideration." If you have ever been arrested or convicted of any crime, please consult with an attorney before you apply.  

Will the information I share in my request for consideration of deferred action be used for immigration enforcement purposes?
Unless USCIS determines that you meet the criteria for issuance of a Notice to Appear or a referral to ICE, the information you provide in a deferred action application will be protected from disclosure to ICE or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings. However, the information may be shared with ICE, CBP, and other national security and law enforcement agencies for reasons other than removal proceedings, including: 

Where can I get additional information on DACA and DAPA?

The executive actions, including the enforcement priorities and DACA/DAPA memoranda are posted on the Department of Homeland Security's website at The US Citizenship and Immigration Services also has comprehensive information about the deferred action processes on their website at Please remember, while President Obama announced the broad outlines of the immigration executive actions on November 20, 2014, neither the expanded DACA nor the DAPA processes are in place yet. Be careful not to get scammed.