Deferred Action Resource Center

The Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick is a trusted resource for up-to-date information on deferred action and other important issues in immigration law. With offices in Carlsbad and San Diego, California we are dedicated to helping you and your family obtain deferred action, work authorization, and other forms of immigration relief.

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A Stitch in the Fabric: Immigration Reform

There are millions of undocumented workers living in the United States. Families risk life and limb to escape poverty and violence in their home countries to immigrate to America. With little chance of obtaining a visa or being “paroled” in, families take the risk, often bringing their children along. The legal term for an “illegal” crossing is “entry without inspection” and brands the entrant for life. Having entered without “permission,” these families have little chance of ever becoming “legal.” Without “papers” or work authorization, they live in fear of removal, try to stay “under the radar,” and get paid “under the table.” Raised in the U.S., the children of undocumented parents similarly lack legal status, hiding and carrying on the burden of being deprived of benefits, especially the ability to work.

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Stop Punishing the Children

Effective June 15, 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) offers children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents an opportunity for relief. These kids had little choice but to follow their families, but, after being raised as “Americans,” are forever “punished” for the “sins” of their parents and stymied by their lack of legal immigration status. While the DREAM Act would offer these children a path to citizenship, but has not yet been passed. To opponents, DACA is DREAM Act “Lite.” To social justice advocates, it is not enough. At a minimum, DACA formally halts the removal process of eligible candidates who were brought to the U.S. as children. It offers limited relief to a generation of undocumented children who are branded “illegal” and live in fear of deportation.

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Deferred Action Temporarily Halts Removal and Accrual of Unlawful Presence

Deferred action gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) discretion to grant certain temporary relief from removal to eligible applicants. Before DACA, entry without inspection had two seriously damaging consequences: potential initiation of removal proceedings and accumulation of “unlawful presence” (UP). This meant that undocumented children could have the deportation process initiated against them at any time and were considered to have lived here illegally from the day their parents brought them to the U.S. This triggers a 10-year bar. If they ever had to leave the U.S., they could not return or even apply for relief for 10 years or more. Thus, many families never leave the country and continue to accrue unlawful presence

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How Deferred Action Works: What it Does and Does Not Guarantee

Temporary deferral of removal only means that DHS will not initiate or continue removal proceedings against eligible applicants during the relevant relief period. The applicant will similarly stop accruing “unlawful presence” which would otherwise bar eligibility for future relief. Deferred action does not confer lawful status or guarantee a path to citizenship; it does not excuse unlawful presence (UP) accrued before or after the relief goes into effect. This means you continue to accrue UP until your case is approved, denied, or after the period of granted relief has passed without being renewed. However, deferred action does provide employment authorization. This allows you to apply for permission to work in the U.S. by showing “economic need.” DHS retains the discretion to terminate or renew the relief at any time.

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