'Law library books' found at https://flic.kr/p/bbKcez by j3net (https://flickr.com/people/j3net) used under Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
'Law library books' found at https://flic.kr/p/bbKcez by j3net (https://flickr.com/people/j3net) used under Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
'Law library books' found at https://flic.kr/p/bbKcez by j3net (https://flickr.com/people/j3net) used under Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced the much awaited Executive Action on immigration. One of the most highly anticipated was DAPA (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability). DAPA offers deferral of removal/deportation by allowing people who have lived “under the radar” to come out into the open. Eligible applicants must meet all the requirements for DAPA (See our prior blog post for eligibility requirements).

Many people are now wondering whether they should hire a lawyer to help them with their DAPA application.  While not everyone will necessarily need legal counsel to assist them with their DAPA applications, a competent lawyer can certainly prove helpful when it comes to preparing immigration applications such as those related to a DAPA filing, especially where a person may have additional "issues", as explained below.

The good news is that implementation of DAPA will allow millions of currently undocumented residents of the United States to come forward, submit paperwork, pay filing fees, and then obtain temporary employment authorization (a.k.a., a “work permit”) from USCIS. However, many of these applicants will have been employed previously, sometimes under a name other than their own. Some may have used fraudulent identity documents with a corresponding Social Security number (either an invented one or a number belonging to someone else) while completing employment forms such as the Form I-9. Any such impermissible use could trigger concerns about identity theft, fraud, misrepresentation, or false claim to US citizenship. The concerns surrounding these issues may be compounded when an applicant has had encounters with law enforcement.

As a rule, merely answering the questions on the requisite immigration forms will not adequately address these prior acts. A competent lawyer or BIA-accredited representative, during a case assessment meeting, may help a prospective DAPA applicant flush out these issues and their potential consequences. Additionally, a lawyer will generally conduct a careful assessment of a person’s individual case facts as they apply to DAPA and other potential future immigration benefits.

In such cases, it is prudent to seek at least an initial case assessment before filing anything with USCIS or any other government agency. DAPA may be a first step in getting one’s immigration status in order, and no one wants to jeopardize his or her chances of successfully navigating the U.S. immigration system.  A reputable attorney will explain fees and the scope of representation clearly and up front.  Click here for more details.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Francis D. Agyare is Senior Counsel at abramson IMMIGRATION+ SOLUTIONS, where he handles all manner of immigration cases.  He can be reached at fagyare@immigsolutions.com, or at +603.792.VISA (792-8472), x104