DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS PROGRAM
On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced that qualifying young immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 will no longer be removed from the United States. The policy is effective within 60 days of the announced date or by August 13, 2012. To be eligible for the deferred action and procured a work permit an individual must prove the following:
1) They were under 31 years old on June 15, 2012;
2) Came to the United States under the age of 16;
3) Has continuously resided in the United States for at least 5 years prior to June 15, 2012 and physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
4) Currently attending school, graduated high school, obtained a G.E.D. certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. armed forces or Coast Guard;
5) Has not been convicted of a felony offense, significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offense, nor otherwise poses a threat to the community or national security.
*Prior to coming forward to apply for the deferred action with work authorization there are certain dynamics of the policy that need significant consideration.
The policy does not become effective until 60 days after the announcement, or around August 13th, 2012. Prior to then, a person CANNOT apply for deferred action. Until the government has informed the public how to apply, do not turn any paperwork or pay any government fees. Prior to the program beginning a potential applicant should begin gathering the following information:
1) Documents showing your age, such as birth certificates or passport;
2) Financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, military records demonstrating that you came to the U.S. before the age of 16, AND resided in the U.S. for at least 5 continuous years before June 15, 2012 and physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
3) School records, diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, school transcripts and other enrollment evidence, OR documentation as an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard.
4) Criminal Records: If you have had any misdemeanor or felony arrests, issues or convictions, gather those documents.
Applicant must be aware of prior criminal history. There is a broad array of criminal offenses that will bar eligibility through this program including:
1) Conviction for a felony: A felony is a federal, state or local offense that carries a potential sentence of more than one year
2) Conviction of a “significant misdemeanor”: Defined as a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment, OR;
3) Crimes that involve no imprisonment and involving: violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, theft, or fraud; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; obstruction of justice or bribery; unlawful flight from arrest, prosecution, or the scene of an accident; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or unlawful possession of drugs
4) Convictions of “multiple misdemeanors”: Defined as three or more non-significant misdemeanors not occurring on the same day and not arising from the same act or scheme of conduct
5) Even without a conviction, criminal history, including arrests and dismissed charges, may be taken into consideration when determining if a person poses a “public safety” threat. Examples: gang membership, or participation in criminal activities
6) Juvenile Delinquency adjudication. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not yet decided whether juvenile adjudications will be treated the same as adult convictions under deferred action. It is best to prepare as if DHS will treat the juvenile adjudication the same as adult convictions, which would bar the juvenile from deferred action
SEEK IMMIGRATION LEGAL HELP: There are various defense strategies that an immigration attorney may be able to utilize to qualify a client for deferred action despite a criminal history. Speak to an immigration attorney about your criminal history.
Ramifications after the two-year time period
This two-year program is not a permanent fix to halt all qualifying young immigrants from removal, nor does it grant immunity. More likely this program allows congress a two-year time period to pass the DREAM Act legislation.
Following the two years program, there can be detrimental repercussions for those who applied for deferred action because the future of this program is uncertain. If the DREAM Act is not passed by congress within the two years it is possible that the program is not renewed. The end of the program could lead to a mass removal order for illegal immigrants who had applied for and/or received deferred action.
Currently USCIS has set the filing fee. This fee covers the biometrics and employment authorization under this program.
Consult with an immigration attorney to discuss your case. Be careful not to use Notarios, Paralegals or other unlicensed individuals in discussing or preparing your paperwork.
TIME TO RENEW DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS
Many recipients of DACA will have their cases approvals expiring soon. In order to maintain your status you must renew your DACA. Contact Scales of Justice, APC for assistance doing this.
Contact us now to set up a consultation to discuss your case.