On August 5, 2012, the USCIS released new details about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals process. See my previous blogs on this topic for more details. In USCIS’ latest notice, some important criteria were defined. Individuals who qualify may begin to apply August 15, 2012, when USCIS will have an application ready. The cost of the application is $465 if you are applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Below are some of the important points of the announcement. You may request deferred action if you:
1. Are 15 years or older at the time you apply (unless you are in removal proceedings), and you not have reached your 31st birthday as of June 15, 2012.
2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday.
3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 up to the present time.
4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time you apply for Deferred action.
5. Have entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or your lawful permanent status expired before June 15, 2012.
6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school or a GED, or are ah honorably discharged veteran of US armed Forces.
7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security of public safety.
Some of the nuances announced in the FAQ’s published by USCIS with regards to the Deferred Action Program include a definition and examples of what the USCIS considers a significant misdemeanor. A significant misdemeanor conviction will disqualify you from the process, regardless of the sentence imposed. Examples are the offense of domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, firearms possession or use, drug distribution or trafficking or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). A minor traffic offense such as driving without a license will not be considered a misdemeanor for the purposes of this process.
If you meet the basic criteria and are considering applying for deferred action, and if you have had any interaction with the police or law enforcement, whether you believe you were convicted or not, you should consult an immigration attorney to review your case before you apply. There is no appeal to a denial of Deferred Action; therefore, you should consult an immigration attorney before attempting to apply to ensure you have all of the evidence required.