Important Guidelines on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Important Guidelines on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Q.        What is deferred action for childhood arrivals?

A.        On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years subject to renewal and may then be eligible for work authorization.

Q.        What is the significance of this deferred action to an alien?

A.        Once approved for deferred action, a work authorization will be granted which will qualify an alien to work in the United States, and to apply for Social Security Number and Driver’s License.

Q.        If my application is denied, can I appeal?

A.        You cannot appeal or submit a motion to reopen/reconsider if your application is denied. USCIS will implement a supervisory review process in all four Service Centers to ensure a consistent process for considering requests for deferred action for childhood arrivals. USCIS will require officers to elevate for supervisory review those cases that involve certain factors.

Q. If my application is denied, will I be placed in removal proceedings?

A.        The USCIS follows certain guidelines in referring cases to removal proceedings.  If your case involved a criminal offense, fraud or threat to national security or public safety, then it will likely be referred to removal proceedings.

Q.        If my application for deferred action is approved, can I travel outside of the U.S.?

A.        Generally, USCIS will only grant advance parole if you are traveling for humanitarian purposes, educational purposes, or employment purposes.

Q.        If I have traveled outside the United States since June 15, 2007, can I still qualify for deferred action?

A.        A brief, casual, and innocent absence from the United States will not interrupt your continuous residence.

Q.        If I am no longer attending school, and do not have a high school degree or a GED, am I still eligible for deferred action?

A.        To be considered “currently in school” under the guidelines, you must be enrolled in school on the date you submit a request for consideration of deferred action under this process.

Q.        I am currently in removal proceedings. How can I apply for deferred action?

A.        Persons in removal proceedings, those with a final order or with a voluntary departure order may apply for deferred action and submit their request to the USCIS.

Q.        If I have been convicted of a misdemeanor, can I still qualify for deferred action?

A.        Only if you were not convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” or of 3 or more misdemeanors.

A “significant misdemeanor” is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria:

  1. Regardless of the sentence imposed, is 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,
  2. 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.

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