inside immigration information about marriage green cards and work visas in America
How old do I have to be to apply for deferred action?
You must be at least 15 years of age or older at the time of filing your application. If you are not yet 15 years old but meet the requirements for DACA, you can file your application after you turn 15 years old.
There is one exception. You can apply for the DACA work permit if you are not yet 15 years old, if you are in removal proceedings, have a final removal order, or have a voluntary departure order, and are not currently being detained by immigration.
What Status Would I Have if I Am Granted “Deferred Action?” Does it Give Me “Legal” Status?
Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of a dreamer as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not give lawful status upon a dreamer. In addition, although a dreamer who is granted “deferred action” will not be considered to be adding unlawful presence in the United States during the period when the deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not absolve individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.
Under existing regulations, a dreamer who has been granted deferred action is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” Deferred action can be terminated at any time at the agency’s discretion or renewed by the agency.
What Criminal Offenses qualify as a “significant misdemeanor”?
A significant misdemeanor is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or even no imprisonment that involves: violence, threats, or assault, including domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary, larceny, 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. Not even 1 significant misdemeanor is allowed.
Driving under the influence (DUI or DWI) always considered a “significant misdemeanor” regardless of the jail time the judge ordered. Sorry.
What Criminal Offenses qualify as a regular (non-significant) misdemeanor?
A non-significant misdemeanor is any misdemeanor where the maximum jail time the judge could have ordered is only one year or less but greater than 5 days AND is not included in the list above AND is one where the person was sentenced to jail time of 90 days or less. Jail time for an immigration hold does not count.
What If I had a Minor Traffic Ticket?
A minor traffic ticket (like driving without a license) is not considered a misdemeanor at all. But if you have a lot of traffic tickets, your entire history can be considered to decide whether to grant you the work permit or not. We have not been told what a “lot of tickets” means.
What if I had a Juvenile or Expunged Conviction?
You have to still put the information on your application, but expunged convictions and juvenile convictions do not automatically disqualify you. The government says they will decide these cases on a “case-by-case” basis.
After I Get the DACA Work Permit Can I Get A Green Card or USA Citizenship?
The new law will not lead to green cards or USA citizenship at the present time, but can remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, allowing eligible immigrants able to legally remain in the United States for extended periods. We need the real Dream Act to be passed by Congress to get green card status for dreamers.
What Form Will I Use for My Dreamer Work Permit And What Might the Fees Be?
The complete dreamer DACA forms, instructions, and mailing address have been released. The application can be submitted at any time. Thus far, there is no deadline. The fees for the dreamer work permit are $465.
What About My Family? Is Information Put on DACA Application Confidential?
The government is saying that information put on the DACA forms will be protected from disclosure to ICE or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for purposes of removal proceedings unless the student can be deported. Similarly, information related to applicants’ family members is supposed to be kept confidential and is not supposed to be used for immigration enforcement purposes unless the student can be deported.
However, the student’s information may be shared with national security and law enforcement agencies, including ICE and CBP, for purposes other than removal, to identify or prevent fraudulent claims, for national security purposes, or for the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense.
What About Brief Casual Absences from the U.S. before August 15, 2012?
The government is saying that brief, casual, and innocent absences from the United States before August 15, 2012 is not supposed to interrupt your “continuous residence” if:
1. The absence was short and reasonably calculated to accomplish the purpose for the absence;
2. The absence was not because of an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal;
3. The absence was not because of an order of voluntary departure, or an administrative grant of voluntary departure before you were placed in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings; and
4. The purpose of the absence and/or your actions while outside the United States were not contrary to law.
Will I be Able to Travel Abroad after August 15, 2012?
Travel abroad may be permitted for specific purposes for dreamers, such as humanitarian purposes, employment or educational purposes. However, the government is saying that dreamers who have been granted DACA work permits will need to submit Form I-131 (a travel permit request), pay the I-131 application fee, and have the I-131 application approved before he/she can travel abroad. USCIS will need to determine whether your purpose for international travel is justifiable in order to issue the “advance parole” travel permit.
NOTE: You have to have your DACA request approved before you apply for the I-131 Advance Parole.
NOTE: If you leave the U.S. without the I-131 Advance Parole after August 15, 2012, you will not be considered for deferred action.
What if I Entered Without Inspection or My Lawful Status Expired?
USCIS has also clarified that DACA will be available for dreamers who entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 as well as to those dreamers whose lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012, as long as they are otherwise eligible.
New Information on Students With Criminal Convictions:
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center published “Understanding the Criminal Bars to the Deferred Action Policy for DREAM Act‐Eligible Individuals”.
Will I Be Able to USe Affidavits as Supporting Documents?
The government says that affidavits (which are really just written statements or letters) are not generally sufficient on their own to demonstrate that a dreamer meets DACA guidelines. However, affidavits can be considered to support the DACA application if other documentation available to you is missing in the following circumstances:
• A gap in the documentation demonstrating that you meet the five year continuous residence requirement; and
• A lack of documentation about brief, casual and innocent departures during the five years of required continuous presence.
If you submit affidavits related to the above criteria, you must submit 2 or more affidavits, sworn (notarized) by people other than yourself, who have direct personal knowledge of the above events and circumstances.
USCIS says it will not accept affidavits as proof of other criteria to qualify for DACA. Please read the DACA instructions carefully about affidavits.
If Granted DACA, Will I Still Accrue Unlawful Presence if I am Under 18 Years Old?
the government says dreamers will continue to accrue unlawful presence while the request for consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is pending, unless you are under 18 years old at the time of the DACA request. If you are under 18 years old at the time you submit your request but turn 18 while your request is pending with USCIS, you will not accrue unlawful presence while the request pending. If your DACA case is granted, you will not accrue unlawful presence during the period of deferred action. Having removal action deferred on your case will not excuse previously accrued unlawful presence.
If I am Denied, Can I Appeal? Is It True There are No Appeal Rights?
The government says that you cannot file a motion to reopen or reconsider, and cannot appeal the decision if the USCIS denies your request for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. USCIS will not review its discretionary determinations. However, there are a few exceptions (read the DACA instructions carefully).
When Can I Apply for a DACA Work Permit?
The DACA applications can be submitted anytime on or after August 15, 2012. So far there is not a deadline.
Does Deferred Action Result in Permanent Lawful Status for Me or Any Of My Relatives?
No. The grant of deferred action under this new directive does not provide an individual with permanent lawful status. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the right to permanent lawful status.
Are You Sure I Should Apply? What If It Doesn’t Work?
As of October 1, 2012, Daca work permit applications were submitted by 179,794 dreamers. Out of those, only 4,591 were approved. We don’t know yet how many were denied.
For dreamers whose requests for deferred action end up being denied by USCIS, the USCIS may apply its existing Notice to Appear (NTA) guidance governing USCIS’s referral of cases to ICE.
What does that mean? Dreamers whose DACA requests are denied may be referred to an ICE Officer (the deportation officer) if they have a criminal conviction or there is a finding of fraud in their DREAMer deferred action request. In other words, it is possible for a DREAMer applicant to be deported if their DACA application is denied for certain reasons. Please also read PROS AND CONS OF DACA DEFERRED ACTION by Dreamactivist.org.
If I Call the USCIS Customer Service Number and Ask a Question, Can I Trust the Answer of the USCIS Agent Who Answers the Phone?
The USCIS National Customer Service Center is expanding its hours to include Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Live agents will now be available Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m in each time zone.
However, the USCIS Agents who answer the phone are not immigration officers or immigration attorneys and do not know all of the immigration rules. You definitely cannot trust the answer of the agents. Think about it for a minute – they get hundreds of calls and simply do not have the time to get your complete history, they don’t know what questions to ask you, and they are reading their generic answers off of a card that was prepared for them to read. Regrettably American Immigration law is far too complicated in many cases to give a simple 30 second answer.
If I Can’t Trust the USCIS, Who Can I Trust?
If you would like a reliable source of information, you will look for an Immigration Attorney with at least 10 years of experience, and one that is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Please do not expect an instant answer from an immigration attorney about eligibility for DACA – that is a sure sign that the immigration attorney is not spending the time necessary to learn all about you and consider all of the immigration policies, laws, regulations, and immigration judge court opinions that may impact your particular case.