Complex DACA – Crime Issues

Want to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)? Don’t know if your past criminal history will affect your chances of approval? If having expunged your crime(s) has any affect? Need a realistic assessment of your chances and what’s involved?  We’re here to help.

What Crimes Bar Me From Obtaining DACA Relief?

No one is perfect, but unfortunately a criminal record may disqualify you from DACA benefits. You are ineligible for DACA if your criminal records includes a felony or significant misdemeanor.

A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

A significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days and is either:

  1. 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. Any kind of offense 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.

Three or more non-significant misdemeanors also disqualify you from DACA benefits. A non-significant misdemeanor is any misdemeanor for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days and that meets both of the following criteria:

  1. Is not 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; and
  2. Is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.

What If The Conviction Was Expunged, I Was Underage Or It Was A Juvenile Conviction?

DACA is a discretionary benefit, meaning CIS can use any criminal record you may have to deny your application. CIS will weigh your criminal record against you and might not grant the application or they might grant the application.

Thankfully, Congress recognizes several crimes that will not lead to automatic disqualification for DACA. These crimes include, but are not limited to, state immigration offenses, minor traffic offenses, juvenile delinquency, and expunged convictions. If you were a juvenile, but tried and convicted as an adult, you will be treated as an adult for purposes of DACA.

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It’s time to get started. Call us: (213) 627-8997