Frequently Asked Questions

If my request for Deferred Action is denied, will I be placed into removal proceedings?

Individuals who are denied Deferred Action will only have their case referred to ICE by USCIS if there is a criminal conviction on the individual’s record or if there is a finding of fraud in the request. Anyone with a significant misdemeanor or disqualifying offense should refrain from applying for deferred action since it could lead to potential deportation.

I am in removal (deportation) proceedings. What should I do?

If you are represented by an attorney, contact him/her immediately. If you do not have a lawyer, you should consult with one as soon as possible, especially if you have a hearing prior to September 2012.

What is deferred action?

Deferred action essentially means that the government knows an individual is in the country without permission but will not seek to deport them. It allows the person to apply for a work permit, though this is not automatic. Deferred action is not permanent status and will not lead to a green card or U.S. citizenship by itself.

How much are the government filing fees?

The total government filing fees for both deferred action and work authorization are $465. The amount must be paid by check or cashier’s check to “The Department of Homeland Security”.

How can I demonstrate I entered the U.S. before age 16, that I have resided continuously since June 15, 2007, and that I was present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012?

Acceptable documents include, but are not limited to: financial records, medical records, school records, employment records, and military records. School transcripts is a perfect way to show continuous physical presence.

How can I demonstrate I am currently in school, graduated from high school, or obtained a general education development certificate (GED)?

Acceptable documents include, but are not limited to: diplomas, GED certificates, report cards, and school transcripts.

What crimes will disqualify me from Deferred Action?

  1. One or more felonies where the term of imprisonment is more than one year;
  2. One or more “significant misdemeanors”, (explained below);
  3. Three or more misdemeanors (not significant misdemeanors).

What is a “significant misdemeanor”?

A significant misdemeanor is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by grater than five days of imprisonment but no more than one year. The following are considered “significant misdemeanors”:

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

  2. If its 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.

What could count as a “public safety threat”?

We do not know. It could be that officials will look behind dismissed charges or juvenile delinquency adjudications to determine whether a person presents a public safety threat. An example might be membership or association to a gang.

What could count as a “national security threat”?

We do not know. DHS broadly characterizes “participation in activities that threaten the United States” as a national security threat. This means it will not be limited to criminal convictions.

What should I do if I have an arrest or conviction?

  1. Get a copy of your record from whatever court your case was heard, including all juvenile delinquency adjudication. Try to get copies of police reports, a criminal history background check, or your “rap sheet.” Many states already have systems for you to collect your criminal history. In many cases, you can find it on your local county website or state government websites. Make sure you get them from all states where you believe you may have been arrested or convicted.
  2. Meet with an immigration attorney experienced in deportation defense or the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Make sure they review all your arrest information and criminal conviction documents. Do NOT consult “Notarios” if you have a criminal history.