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DAPA provides unauthorized parents protections against deportation

For many five-year-old children in the U.S., their biggest worries and fears may include imaginary monsters under the bed, having to share toys with friends and trying to get out of brushing their teeth. For one little girl, who was recently allowed through a street barricade to meet Pope Francis as his processional rode through Washington D.C., her concerns are much more serious and heartbreaking.

Sophie Cruz lives in South Gate California with her mom, dad and sister. While both Sophie and her sister were born in the U.S. and are therefore legal U.S. citizens, her mother and father came to the U.S. from their native Mexico illegally 10 years ago. In a letter she handed to Pope Francis, Sophie expressed her very real fears that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will take her mom and dad away.

As we mentioned in our last blog post, anti-immigration sentiments among candidates for the Republican presidential party nomination are strong. Thankfully, in 2014, President Barack Obama took action to establish programs like the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans to prevent the separation of unauthorized parents from their U.S.-born children due to deportation.

DAPA "provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens." In order to qualify for protections under DAPA, an individual must meet the following requirements:

• Have a child that is a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
• Have been physically in U.S. on Nov. 20, 2014, when DAPA was signed
• Not deemed an enforcement priority for deportation
• Pass a background check

Parents who are unauthorized to be in the U.S. likely have many fears and concerns about coming forward to apply for DAPA protections. An attorney who handles immigration cases can answer questions, provide advice and assist in the process of applying for "temporary relief from deportation," and official authorization to work legally in the U.S.

Source: The New York Times, "Little Girl Shares Immigration Message With Pope," AP, Sept. 23, 2015

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