Individuals who qualify for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) will not be deported. However, DAPA does not equal permanent resident status or citizenship. It does allow for obtaining employment authorization to legally work in the United States for periods of three years. There are basic qualifications pertaining to the level of recorded criminal activity an individual must meet to be approved for DAPA.
DAPA bars people who have been convicted of:
- A felony;
- A “significant misdemeanor”; or
- Three misdemeanors.
A significant misdemeanor is defined by the following types of charges:
- Domestic violence;
- Unlawful possession or use of a firearm;
- Sexual abuse or exploitation;
- Drug distribution or trafficking;
- Burglary; or
- Driving under the influence.
It is best to have an attorney review your criminal record or any pending criminal activity prior to applying for DAPA. A person should never enter into a plea agreement without understanding in full his or her legal rights and how it will affect not only DAPA approval, but future issues regarding permanent resident status in the United States.
The National Immigration Project website shares possible defense strategies in terms of reducing or amending criminal charges or fulfilling certain demands to result in a change of plea upon successful completion. Defense strategies do not come with a guarantee, but they do provide ways in which a person can work with an attorney to ensure that they fulfill the requirements necessary to remain in the United States under deferred action.
For example, a DUI case is considered a significant misdemeanor and would bar a chance to apply for DAPA. However, if there is a plea to a lesser offense in exchange for a sentence that does not include jail time, but rather community service or work release instead, this would keep an individual eligible for DAPA approval.
Every case is unique and must be handled on an individual basis. Our law firm is here to help you understand your options and guide you through the application process. If you or someone you know has questions about DAPA approval in Texas, contact an experienced San Antonio deportation attorney at The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC.