Preparing for DAPA: A New Self-Help Need for Court and Community-Based Legal Aid

The State Justice Institute has just distributed a memo on likely ways that the President’s Delayed Action for Parental Accountability program will result in requests for help to state courts.  The nub of the memo is here:

The requirements for DAPA may result in numerous requests to state courts for records, such as arrest records, records of criminal convictions and sentences, and records evidencing family relationships such as parentage, divorce, and child custody. For example, any individual with an arrest record will have the burden of showing to USCIS, on the initial request and as part of any request for subsequent renewal, that the arrest did not result in conviction of any of the crime(s) that preclude eligibility for deferred prosecution. Furthermore, in some cases applicants may need state court records to establish identity, relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and length of continuous residence in the United States.

Remember that several million people will be applying for this program, and many may need to establish several pieces of such information for eligibility.

While the program will apparently not start accepting applications until May 2015, surely many people will want to collect this data starting soon.

So it would appear to make sense for courts, self-help centers and community-based legal aid to start planning early on how to handle these requests.  It would be nice to think that access to justice Commissions would take the leadership in developing integrated plans with appropriate division of labor between the various entities.  Some of the more detailed planning will have to await issuance of the regs.

The announcement came from the SJI funded Center for Public Policy Studies Immigration and the State Courts Strategic Initiative.  They plan additional DAPA resources.



About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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1 Response to Preparing for DAPA: A New Self-Help Need for Court and Community-Based Legal Aid

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Richard. The Immigration Advocates Network, as part of a coalition of 20 immigrant rights organizations, have launched a new website, the Administrative Relief Resource Center (, to respond to the Administration’s historic announcement. The site includes substantive resources and practice advisories on expanded DACA and the new DAPA program for practitioners and community-based organizations, as well as materials on the changes to enforcement priorities. There is also a nonprofit legal referral directory, know your rights resources for clients, news, upcoming trainings, and an email subscription for updates.

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