Deferred Action Attorney Referral Service

Deferred action has the primary purpose of stopping the accrual of unlawful presence in the United States for immigrants who do not have the proper documentation. It may also be used to stop removal actions already in progress. A deferment does not give legal status, but can be useful in protecting individuals and families until they can earn legal status. While most deferments are only good for a few years, they are renewable.

All deferred action processes have very specific guidelines that must be met to qualify, and those who are granted a deferment are selected on a case-by-case basis. In addition to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, both USCIS and ICE may offer deferment based on specific circumstances of the case.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Since 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has offered a two year deferment for qualified individuals, and is renewable. Some who qualify will also be eligible to apply for a California driver’s license and work authorization.

DACA, applies to those who lived in the United States on July 15, 2007 and were under the age of 16 when they arrived in the U.S. Additional age restrictions require that they were age 30 or under when the law passed on July 15, 2007.

Other eligibility requirements include having earned a high school diploma or GED, be enrolled in a program to do so, or be honorably discharged from military service. A background check will be performed, so a clean criminal record is also important.

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, commonly known as DAPA, is focused on parents of children who are in the U.S. with lawful status. Children who born in the United States, or have lawful status as a legal permanent resident, may have one or both parents who have no lawful status. DAPA, part of the immigration reform announced on November 20, 2014, helps to keep these families together.

To be eligible for a deferment through DAPA, the parent must have lived in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 and have a child with lawful status who was born before November 20, 2014. A background check and other eligibility requirements may also apply.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Since final determinations for deferment programs are made on a case-by-case basis, it is important to present your case properly. An immigration attorney who is well-versed in these processes is one of the best resources to ensure your application has the best chance of approval. An experienced attorney will understand what it requires to be eligible, and will help you navigate the complex world of immigration law.

How to Find the Right Attorney

The Attorney Referral Service of The San Fernando Valley Bar Association helps match qualified lawyers with clients in San Fernando Valley. Call us at (818) 340-4529 for more information.