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On November 20, 2014, President Obama ordered the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop deporting immigrants present in the USA without authorization, if those immigrants are the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident children and they apply to have their deportation delayed. In the same move called an executive order, Obama ordered the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue work permits to those immigrants for three years under the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.

Those who compile census data estimate that there are slightly over four million immigrants present in the USA without authorization who could benefit from DAPA. Many of these immigrants are Baganda and they will benefit from DAPA beginning in the early part of 2015.

An applicant wishing to take advantage of DAPA must show that on November 20, 2014, the date of the Obama executive order, he or she had a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident son or daughter in the USA. He or she must prove his or her identity, establish that he or she has resided in the USA continuously since January 1, 2010, and pass required criminal, national security and public safety background checks.

This BugandaWatch staff reporter spoke to an immigration expert from Buganda who lives and practices immigration law in the USA and asked him to comment on DAPA.

“If DAPA is anything like the June 15, 2012 program Obama created by executive order,” the expert began, “its application process will consist of a special form designed to gather qualifying information from the applicant; the I-765 application for employment authorization; and the biometrics form the applicant fills out at the fingerprinting office.” He added, “The filing fee for the I-765 is $380.00, and the fingerprinting fee is $85.00 for a total of $465.00.” The expert continued that, “From past experience, the DAPA applicant should expect to pay no more than these fees.”

About the need for expert immigration law assistance, the expert answered, “For some people, there will be issues that require legal know-how, such as criminal and other background issues. For others, evidence of continuous residence may prove a challenge that a qualified legal practitioner might help with. However, the forms are designed to require no more than an eighth grade education.” The expert concluded with a clarification that, at this time, “USCIS is not accepting applications but we in the immigration law area expect USCIS to issue DAPA guidelines and to begin taking applications within 180 days of the President’s November 20th executive order.”

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