As you may have heard, on June 15, 2012, a new program was announced to grant temporary status for 2 years to certain young people who were brought to the U.S. as children, do not present a risk to national security, and meet the following criteria:

• Came to the U.S. under age 16;

• Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least 5 years prior to June 15, 2012, and were physically present in the U.S. on that date.

• Are currently in school, have graduated high school, have obtained a GED, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces.

• Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, and multiple misdemeanor offenses.

• Were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.

The temporary status, called “Deferred Action,” also provides for employment authorization. The US Department of Homeland Security is now accepting applications. If you or someone you know may be eligible for this new program, and you wish to discuss the case with us, please contact our office to schedule a complimentary consultation.


Why should I use an attorney to fill out the application for DACA?

ANSWER: Like many immigration applications, the form seems simple. However, the information provided can have serious consequences, which should be discussed with an attorney, such as:

• Depending on the circumstances of the case, the information provided about you and your family members may or may not be kept confidential, and may be used against you or your family.

•While we expect that most DACA applicants will not be taken into custody, certain cases have higher risk factors which may lead to detention.

•If CIS believes there is any sort of fraud in the application, not only will deferred action be denied, but criminal and/or removal procedures could be initiated.

•Any case involving an arrest or offense of any kind should be carefully evaluated by an attorney, to assess the risk.

•There is no appeal or motion to reopen an adverse decision. You have only one opportunity to submit a successful application, so it must be thoroughly and accurately prepared!

Can I travel outside the US?

ANSWER: Once DACA has been approved, you can apply for a travel permit. However, it is important to discuss travel with your attorney, as it may affect your eligibility for future immigration benefits. If you travel after August 15, 2012, but before DACA is granted and before a travel permit has been issued, you will no longer be eligible for consideration under DACA. Also, CIS has indicated that travel permits will only be issued for humanitarian, educational or employment purposes.

What is considered a “significant misdemeanor” which would make me ineligible for DACA?

ANSWER: CIS has indicated that a conviction for the following will make someone automatically ineligible for consideration for DACA:

Regardless of the sentence imposed, an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or,

If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.

If I have arrests that did not result in a conviction, therefore not counting towards the “3 or more non-serious misdemeanors” bar to eligibility, does that mean I am safe to apply for consideration under DACA?

ANSWER: Deferred Action is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, it is not a right or a benefit. Therefore, in exercising its discretion, CIS has indicated they will consider all facts and circumstances, including arrests that did not result in a conviction, juvenile records and convictions for “non-serious crimes.” Just because your arrest history may not automatically bar you from consideration, does not mean CIS will automatically exercise discretion favorably. These cases should be carefully reviewed by an attorney, to assess the risk.

If I did not graduate high school, and am not enrolled in school right now, can I enroll and then apply for consideration under DACA?

ANSWER: YES. CIS has indicated that it will consider enrollment in certain educational programs as long as the applicant is enrolled on the date the application is made to CIS. However, CIS has also indicated that if, in the future, extensions of DACA are permitted, CIS will ask for evidence that either the program was completed and/or substantial progress has been made in those studies. Consult with your attorney to make sure that the type of program you are enrolled in is one that CIS has indicated will be acceptable.


America’s Voice Responds to SCOTUS Decision to Grant Cert in DAPA/DACA+ Case

by AV Press Releases on 

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to take up U.S. v Texas– the legal case that has blocked President Obama’s decision to confer protection against deportation and work permits to individuals who are low priority for immigration enforcement. Following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, responding to this news:

“This is a great day for millions of immigrants and their allies.  At long last, millions of immigrants will have a full and fair hearing before the highest court in the land.  We are optimistic that the underlying legal issues will be resolved in our favor, and the relief fought for and won by the immigrants’ rights movement will be unfrozen.

”Finally, this case has been taken out of the hands of both Judge Hanen, a notoriously anti-immigrant judge intent on thwarting relief for immigrants, and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the most conservative appeals court in the country where conservative judges were called out for deliberately delaying a decision in hopes of running out the clock on  Obama’s presidency.

“The executive actions announced by President Obama last November are in line with actions taken by other presidents from both parties over the past 60 years.  Moreover, these policies are the right thing to do on behalf of some five million undocumented Americans living and working in the U.S. and on behalf of a nation that overwhelmingly wants immigrants who have deep ties and families here to have the chance to remain in America.

“The Republican governors, attorneys general and presidential candidates supporting this lawsuit should be ashamed of themselves.  Not only are they playing politics with millions of immigrant families – and especially the ability of U.S. citizen children to be with their parents – they seem intent on undermining the integrity of the judiciary for partisan aims.  Unfortunately for them, our movement gets stronger every day, the public is ready to more formally welcome undocumented immigrants into the American family, and it is highly doubtful the Supreme Court will paralyze basic government functions by putting every discretionary decision by every federal agency at the mercy of state lawsuits.

“We believe the Supreme Court will use common sense to advance the common good.  Justice is finally near.”